Happy New Year
We have good news here. The waiting period – approximately 60 days – is over and hatching of Hawksbill turtle eggs laid on the Cousin beach has began. Mary and Eric have had a busy time with turtle work. The work continues with the hatching. As reported earlier, apart from the regular monitoring program based on beach patrols carried out around the island to intercept and collect data on as many turtles as possible, Nature Seychelles – with technical assistance from Kelonia Marine Turtle Observatory in Reunion – this season introduced the use of data loggers to measure temperature in selected nests. Temperature inside the turtle nests is known to determine the sex ratio of hatchlings. Warmer temperatures produce more females and cooler temperatures give more males. This is an important area of study, as with rising global temperatures, it is important to understand the potential impacts of climate change on this critically endangered and thermally sensitive species.
When hatching occurs in the nests with data loggers (30 in total) Mary and Eric pick up and measure the weight and length of 30 of the hatchlings, as well as categorizing nest content to determine hatchling success.
They are then put in basket such as the one below with a shadow to avoid dehydration.
When the sample hatchlings have been measured and weighed, they are released and head out to sea. The release is controlled to avoid the high level of predation by ghost crabs.
It is impossible to tell the sex ratio of the hatchlings when they are this small. But from the data collected from the data loggers it is possible to determine the approximate sex ratio using existing and new temperature data. We will give you more information on how this pilot study evolves.