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Baby turtles released in Silver Sands, Duncans

Published:Wednesday | November 5, 2014 | 12:00 AM
The baby turtles heading towards the sea.

Adrian Frater, News Editor

WESTERN BUREAU: RESIDENTS OF Silver Sands Estate in Duncans, Trelawny, last Saturday released 138 baby turtles into the ocean surrounding their community in a bold environmentally friendly initiative aimed at replenishing the declining turtle stock in the area.

"In former years, we used to have a lot of turtles coming up from the beach and into our homes," said Cosmo Earle, one of the residents integrally involved in the initiative. "The residents got so familiar with them (the turtles) that they even gave them names... it would not be unusual to hear a resident say, 'I saw grandma this morning', in reference to one of the popular turtles."

Deciding that they wanted to see their crawling neighbours out in big numbers once again, the residents decided to secure the services of St Mary-based turtle expert Mel Tennant to teach them the rudiments of turtle preservation.

"He (Tennant) taught us how to monitor the turtles and to find the nests on the beach where they lay their eggs," said Earle. "Once we learnt how to find the nest, we began marking the spots ... the eggs are usually hatched between 55 to 60 days."

In the case of the baby turtles, which the community released, Tennant said the nest from which they came was found by following the instructions Tennant had given them.

"When we went to check on the nest recently, we discovered that the eggs had started to hatch," said Earle. "The community was alerted and we began to make plans to release them into the sea."

Last Saturday at 4 p.m., 60 residents gathered on the beach to view the release of the baby turtles, which were placed in a bucket prior to being released.

"Once they (the turtles) were released, they headed straight for the sea ... it was a real pleasure watching them going off into the sea," said Earle. "I think I can safely say that our sea-turtle preservation is off to a good start."

Saturday's exercise will definitely not be a one-off exercise as the community is all enthused and getting ready for another release of more baby turtles.

"We are now monitoring two nests, where the eggs should be hatched in another two weeks," said Earle. "I am sure the community is looking forward to the release of these new baby turtle as well."

adrian.frater@gleanerjm.com