I adopted a turtle hatchling and released it into the sea!
My son Josh and I went on a turtle release excursion at the Rimbun Dahan Hatchery, Pahang.
Pak Su (Uncle Su in Malay) and a couple of marine biology students run the place.
The incubation period of a Green Turtle lasts 45 - 60 days.
Lending nature a helping hand
Tree roots and soil compaction (caused by rain on sand that's too fine) hamper the hatchlings from digging themselves out.
|Green Turtle hatchlings|
These little guys can live up to 100 years! But sadly, only 1 in 1,000 will survive to adulthood.
As Ben Guarino of The Washington Post reports, at roughly 85 degrees Fahrenheit, turtle nests produce equal amounts of males and females. A tad cooler and the clutch leans male. A little warmer and embryos develop as females.
You can't tell the sex of a hatchling. Until the turtle is fully grown, it's hard to sex a turtle.
We were told that a tagged hatchling traveled as far as Japan and returned 15 years later to the same beach to nest! What brilliant navigators!
Crabs and birds see these little fellas heading towards the sea as easy meals.
Almost there, little buddy!
Yayyy! Penyu made it! Suddenly, an eagle swooped down and snatched one of the hatchlings that was already far out in the water. I saw the little guy's itty bitty flippers dangling from the bird's talons as it soared back into the sky. Poor baby! Nature is cruel. Such is the circle of life.
Josh's hatchling appeared to have a deformed flipper. We watched sadly as the little fella staggered slowly towards the sea, far behind the others. With a survival rate of less than 1%, sending a handicapped hatchling to the open sea is like giving it a death sentence. Mother Nature is a bitch.
Goodbye, little one!
Being a part of Penyu's journey from the moment it struggled out of the nest and ensuring that it made its way safely to the water was, unquestionably, one of the most profound and emotional experiences of my life.
It breaks my heart to learn that the battle for survival has only just begun. Many will drown in the pounding waves. Hungry fish are ready to strike. And a myriad of other threats await them in the ocean.
The emotional send-off
With hearts full of hopes, we watched our babies disappear from the shoreline and into the sea
|A juvenile Green Turtle|
Remember Crush from Finding Nemo? He is a Green Turtle.