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Wonderful news!32 Loggerhead turtles hatched on Malta

Published: August 17, 2023 - 13:55
Updated: August 17, 2023 - 14:58
Wonderful news!32 Loggerhead turtles hatched on Malta

The Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) has recently announced the successful hatching of 32 Loggerhead turtles at Ramla l-Ħamra, in Gozo.

ERA’s confirmation reveals an impressive 80% success rate for these hatchings. Out of the total 88 eggs laid on June 18th, “32 hatched successfully. 48 were not fertilized and 8 did not hatch successfully”, as confirmed by the Vet. Working in collaboration, Nature Trust volunteers with ERA officials have diligently protected the turtles’ nest upon discovery, ensuring the safety of the site until the hatchlings reach the sea.

loggerhead turtles
(Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina/ERA)

 

However, safeguarding the turtles extends beyond mere nest supervision. Volunteers and officials actively patrol Maltese beaches, searching for turtle crawl marks in the sand, indicative of buried nests. This particular nest was found during one such patrol, and measures were taken to minimize any disruption to the site. This nest marks the first of the season, with a second nest also located in Gnejna, Malta.

loggerhead turtles
(Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina/ERA)

The Loggerhead Turtle

The Loggerhead turtle, scientifically known as Caretta caretta, holds endangered status worldwide according to the IUCN list. This slowly maturing species benefits from protection through both national and international legislation, rendering fishing, capturing, and killing of these reptiles strictly prohibited. Any deliberate interference with the species, from conception onward, is subject to legal action.

An intriguing aspect of Loggerhead turtles is their strong dependence on environmental conditions, particularly during hatching. Gender determination hinges on temperatures, with higher temperatures yielding more female turtles. The term “Global Boiling,” coined by the UN chief to describe planetary warming, poses a threat by skewing the gender balance – reducing male hatchlings essential for species sustainability. Additionally, climate change impacts the turtles by influencing jellyfish blooms, a key secondary food source after mollusks. The overarching effects of climate change disrupt natural cycles for Loggerhead turtles, along with other species.

Notably, extreme weather events stemming from rapid planetary warming pose a significant threat. These events not only harm nests but also devastate vital habitats. Despite these challenges, since the inception of Caretta Caretta protection in 2012, a commendable total of 599 turtles have successfully reached the sea from these nests. This achievement reflects approximately 75% overall success rate, despite the natural hazards these sites encounter. The second site in Gnejna is anticipated to hatch in the coming days, although officials speculate that the above-average temperatures experienced on the islands might accelerate this process.

Main Contacts

In a concerted effort, Nature Trust Malta and ERA continue their collaboration with dedicated public volunteers. Their mission is to protect and preserve turtle nest beaches, fostering the thriving population of this remarkable species and contributing to oceanic restoration. For those encountering nests or turtles in danger, various contacts are available. ERA bears the primary responsibility for legal reachable at +356 2292 3500.

Additionally, the Wildlife Rescue Team Malta can be reached at +356 9999 9505 or through their presence on Facebook and Instagram.

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About author

Jasmine Mifsud
Jasmine Mifsud, who hails from Malta, has an incredible interest in the water surrounding the small island. Her passion for the sea is not surprising, since as a little girl, her biggest dream was to explore the oceans. This ambition created its own pathway as every decision she ever made led her to become an influential woman who decided to create a life for herself instead of living in someone else’s shoes. As time flew by, she became more adventurous and curious about our blue planet. She specialized in environmental sciences and took a tangent route into maritime archaeology, which she considers to be one of her best decisions to date. Throughout her journey, she has built friendships with some of the most inspiring divers globally, all of whom share unique experiences and stories worth listening to. As a young woman in the industry, her journey has only just begun.
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