Following up on my post from a few weeks ago… we have now (seen) the little pitter patter of tiny… flippers!
Last night, as I was cosying up in bed after a fun-filled day of snorkeling, I received a phone call from security informing me that there was a lost turtle hatchling at no other place than the host bar! Leaping out of bed, I cycled at full speed to the site of the nest, where the turtle’s savior had released him or her back to the sea. After surveying the area, we could quite clearly see the tiny tracks of countless baby turtles leading from the nest to the ocean. But… fast forward 20 minutes, and another green turtle baby is found ambling his or her way around the bar. Again we guided the hatchling back to the ocean, where the bright shining moon guided the way to the open ocean.
Despite the humor behind this story of the turtles being (mistakenly) drawn to the bar, it is in many beaches across the world, a big problem for turtle populations. The turtle hatchlings, once having emerged from the nest, will navigate towards the lightest location. In a natural setting, this will be the sea, as the moon light reflects off of it. The land, full of vegetation should be the darkest place.
However, when humans begin to introduce artificial lights, this can lead to confusion for the turtles and they can end up extremely lost, navigating instead toward the artificial lights on land. Eventually, having used up all of their energy stores attempting to navigate in the wrong direction, they may never make it to their intended destination; the sea.
Here at Soneva Jani, careful planning of the island has meant that the east side of the island, where the nests are found, has minimal influence of artificial light, and therefore last night’s little surprise should be an exceptional example for us here.
It is however an important reminder for all of us, wherever we are in the world, to turn off our lights when it nears hatching time, to maximise the little ones’ chances of survival!
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