More turtle sightings and nests over the last few years: NParks

More turtle sightings and nests over the last few years: NParks

119 critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle hatchlings were released at Sisters’ Islands (2)
The Hawksbill Turtle hatchlings were released at Sisters' Islands Marine Park Turtle Hatchery on Aug 23, 2020, after their vital statistics were recorded. (Photo: NParks)

SINGAPORE: There has been an increased number of turtle sightings and nests over the last few years, said the National Parks Board (NParks) on Friday (Aug 28) after it was reported that 119 critically endangered hawksbill turtle hatchlings were recently released at Sisters' Island.

"(This is) especially with the NParks Biodiversity Beach Patrol volunteers helping to patrol our beaches to watch out for nesting turtles and hatchlings, as well as increased public awareness to inform NParks when there is a sighting," said the agency in response to CNA's queries.

According to NParks, the majority of turtle nesting activities are at East Coast Park, with the rest at the Southern Islands.

Between June and September every year, female hawksbill turtles would select a suitable spot to lay their eggs, which typically hatch after about two months, said NParks.

"As only a handful of turtles from each clutch of between 100 and 150 eggs survive until adulthood, locating the hatchery at the protected Sisters’ Islands Marine Park plays a crucial part in increasing their chances of survival," it added.

119 critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle hatchlings were released at Sisters’ Islands (3)
According to NParks, only a handful of turtles from each clutch of between 100 and 150 eggs survive until adulthood. (Photo: NParks)

Singapore's first turtle hatchery, which was set up at Small Sister's Island in September 2018, consists of a turtle field station and an incubation sand pit area.

"The hatchery provides a conducive environment for the incubation of rescued turtle eggs by keeping them safe from predators, light pollution and human disturbance within specially built incubation cages," said NParks.

The relatively calm conditions at the lagoon at Small Sister's Island also allow for hatchlings to make it out to the open sea, it added.

READ: IN FOCUS: How urbanised Singapore is learning to live with its wildlife

Last Sunday, NParks released 119 critically endangered hawksbill turtle hatchlings at Sisters' Islands Marine Park Turtle Hatchery, after their vital statistics were recorded.

The eggs of these hatchlings were previously relocated from East Coast Park.

119 critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle hatchlings were released at Sisters’ Islands
A total of 119 critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle hatchlings were released at Sisters' Islands Marine Park Turtle Hatchery on Aug 23, 2020. (Photo: NParks)

On Friday, Minister of National Development Desmond Lee posted a Facebook vide of the hatchlings being released, saying their vital statistics will enhance Singapore's turtle conservation research.

He also said that NParks relocated 132 hawksbill turtle eggs from another site at East Coast Park to the hatchery on Wednesday, where they will have "a higher chance of survival, away from human activity, light pollution and predators".

"I hope these baby turtles will grow and return to our shores soon," Mr Lee wrote, adding that anyone who sees a nesting turtle should avoid disturbing the creatures.

Source: CNA/lk(gs)

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