[WATCH] Over 90 turtles hatch at Gnejna Bay

A record number of turtles hatched on Wednesday night, despite the wet weather which threatened their survival

98 turtles hatched on Wednesday night
98 turtles hatched on Wednesday night

A total of 98 turtles hatched and went down to the sea at Gnejna Bay on Wednesday Night.

The hatchlings surprised those at the bay when they emerged from their marked nest during the night, after a successful period of incubation and despite the wet weather which threatened the viability of the eggs, the Environment and Resource Authority (ERA) said.

The eggs were laid by a loggerhead turtle on June 25.

Nature Trust – FEE Malta (NTM) and volunteers who were present immediately informed authorities of the event taking place and took action on the ground to see the hatchlings safely to the water’s edge.

Hatchlings are naturally attracted to moonlight shining on the sea surface and their first response, upon emerging from the eggs, is to swim towards light. In view of this, ERA kickstarted its planned response to reduce disturbance from artificial light or any physical barriers at the bay so as to ensure that the hatchlings’ first journey is a successful one.

READ MORE: Turtle nesting’s turbulent Malta history

Turtle sightings around Malta are not that rare, with lots of turtles spotted in our waters in the summertime, Nature Trust CEO, Vincent Attard has told MaltaToday.

The last two recordings of Loggerhead eggs in Malta date back to some 100 and 60 years ago respectively. Attard said that in both cases people stole the eggs and killed the turtle. After that, no turtle eggs were seen in Malta until 2012, when a turtle nested close to the sea at Gnejna Bay. The eggs were exposed to high risks and waves, making nesting harder. In 2016, another nesting was spotted in Golden sands, successfully hatching 71 turtles.