By John Smith • 05 July 2021 • 14:49
Release of the 47 hatchlings
ALTHOUGH it is not unusual to see them in the sea off of the Balearics it is almost unheard of for sea turtles to lay eggs on Balearic beaches.
2020 however saw three batches of eggs discovered, two on Menorca and one on Ibiza and on Thursday July 1, 47 Loggerhead turtle (carreta carreta) juveniles were returned to the sea from the beach of Sa Mesquida. Menorca where they were first discovered as eggs.
It is believed that these are the first sea turtles to be recorded as having been born on any beach in the Balearics and as such, they and the other two sets of eggs have been treated as extremely rare and valuable, being looked after by various specialists across the islands, including Palma Aquarium.
Now having grown to an average weight of 1.2 kg and a length of about 20 cm it was considered safe to release them as they would be less vulnerable to attack from predators such as sea birds and crabs plus of course, they were effectively escorted to the sea.
Prior to this, experts from Oceanografic de Valencia and the Hospital Veterinari Arago de Mallorca examined them to identify their sex and 21 per cent of the specimens were found to be females with the balance males.
The examining scientists believe that a higher temperature – such as that in incubators – allows a higher ratio of females to survive and each turtle has been fitted with a chip to allow for identification in the future whilst one has also been fitted with a geolocation system so that its path may be followed.
To give all of the turtles a better chance of surviving it was decided to stagger their release, with the youngsters from the other two sites continuing to be looked after so that they may be released shortly.
So important to the environment is the laying of turtle eggs, the Species Protection Service reminds everyone that the nesting season for sea turtles in the western Mediterranean has already begun and that it is important that, if a trace is found in the sand, that 112 should be called immediately.
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Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica.
Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene.
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