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Counting Turtle Eggs Before they Hatch

Community and Conservation Officers Cooperate to Recover and Hatch Turtle Eggs from Bali's Beaches.


Bali News: Counting Turtle Eggs Before they Hatch
Click Image to Enlarge

(2/26/2011)

The Bali Conservation Agency (BKSDA) has saved more than 10,000 olive ridleyturtle eggs on the Prancak beach in the Jembrana regency of West Bali.

Quoted in Kompas.com, Sumarsono, the chief of Bali Conservation Agency, said, "in order to save these turtle eggs we do not work alone, but are helped by fishing communities who are aware that protected animal special and by non-governmental agencies concerned with the environment."

The government conservation officers working together with members of the public patrol the beaches along a two-kilometer stretch of Prancak Beach searching and collecting the turtle eggs. This is done to prevent them being taken by predators or stolen by poachers.

Sumarsono continued: "Normally every mother turtle will lay between 80 to 140 eggs. After they are retrieved from their nests, they are incubated by officials of the BKSDA." After approximately one month the eggs hatch at which time the baby turtles are immediately released into the open sea.

The conservation officer admitted that the release of the baby turtles into the ocean is to some degree problematic as many of the small reptiles are too weak to fend off the predators that abound in the ocean. "But this is the best course of action as to care for the turtles after birth would require large amounts of money, coming to hundreds of thousands of rupiahs every day. The country is not yet able to allocated the funds to feed the baby turtles," Sumarsono explained.

Formerly assigned to worked the Meru Betiri National Park in Jember, East Java, Sumarsono, said the olive ridley turtles are very particular about their diet, preferring to eat only shrimp and fish, making the cost of food for these turtles kept in captivity quite high.

The olive ridley are unlike green turtles, who are less selective feeders and can be sustained on seaweed. Perhaps a result of their specific diet, but the turtles usually eaten by man are the green turtle, while olive ridley's, although fed on an expensive diet, are less fancied by people who eat turtle meat. Many who eat the olive ridley claim it makes them nauseous."

The dedicated government conservation officer pledges he will continue to work to preserve and protect protected turtles species.

Similar turtle egg recovery programs are underway in the Badung regency at Kuta Beach. "But in Kuta the number of eggs recovered is less than at Prancak. Maybe it's because Kuta is heavily populated. The turtles are very sensitive as to where they will lay their eggs. They always lay their eggs at night and if there is any noise or lights the turtles will not lay their eggs, choosing instead to swim back off into the ocean," explained Sumarsono.


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