Loggerhead Turtle Successfully Nests on Isla Plana

a sea turtle swimming

: Loggerhead Turtle 'Borgia' Finally Nests on Isla Plana After Years of Struggle. Image: Pexels/ Jeremy Bishop

Loggerhead Turtle Successfully Nests on Isla Plana After Years of Failed Attempts on the Costa Cálida

A loggerhead turtle, known as ‘Borgia’ by the University of Valencia, has accomplished a remarkable feat by successfully nesting on Isla Plana on the Costa Cálida. This achievement comes after three years of unsuccessful attempts by loggerhead turtles to nest along the Murcian coast. The discovery of 117 eggs by the staff at the El Valle Wildlife Recovery Centre marks a significant milestone for the conservation efforts of this endangered species.

Nesting History on the Murcian Coast

During the summers of 2019 and 2020, loggerhead turtles attempted to nest in various locations, including Cartagena, San Javier, and Lorca. However, their efforts were in vain until ‘Borgia’ successfully nested on Isla Plana. In 2020, the previous nesting sites were identified as La Manga del Mar Menor (San Javier) and Cala Honda (Lorca), while in 2019, nesting occurred in Cala Arturo (Cartagena).

Discovery and Conservation Efforts

The loggerhead turtle nesting event on Isla Plana was brought to attention when a concerned individual contacted emergency services (112) in the early hours of the morning on July 4. The staff at the El Valle Wildlife Recovery Centre promptly responded to the call, excavated the nest, and discovered a total of 117 eggs. However, it was determined that the nest was located in an unsuitable area near the shore with a challenging substrate of gravel and stones, making it difficult for the eggs to develop properly.

To ensure the successful incubation of the eggs, the decision was made to relocate the nest to another beach within the municipality of Cartagena, specifically Calblanque. This decision was made in consultation with the technicians from the City Council of Cartagena. Part of the eggs will be transferred to the El Valle Wildlife Recovery Centre for artificial incubation, while the remaining eggs will remain on Calblanque Beach.

Conservation Measures and ‘Head-Starting’ Technique

The nesting events in 2019 and 2020 led to the implementation of the ‘head-starting’ technique, which involves temporarily breeding a portion of the hatchlings in captivity to increase their chances of survival. A total of 67 turtles over one year of age, including 21 from Cala Arturo, 42 from La Manga, and four from Cala Honda, were successfully reintroduced into their natural environment.

Importance of Protecting Loggerhead Turtles

The Director General for the Natural Environment, María Cruz Ferreira, emphasised the significance of protecting these endangered loggerhead turtles. Encounters with sea turtles or their tracks should be handled with care. It is crucial not to disturb the animals, maintain a distance of more than 20 meters, avoid using flash photography or dazzling the turtles, and refrain from erasing their tracks. If an observation is made, it is advisable to locate a reference point in the area before contacting emergency services (112) to report the sighting and provide the precise location.

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Written by

Catherine McGeer

I am an Irish writer who has been living in Spain for the past twenty years. My writing centers around the Costa Cálida. As a mother I also write about family life on the coast of Spain and every now and then I try to break down the world of Spanish politics!