Jennifer Gray 2017-05-02 09:44:46
A GREEN SEA TURTLE NEST BRINGS HOPE FOR THE FUTURE. Enforcing the world’s first conservation legislation in 1620 was not enough to save the nesting green sea turtle population in Bermuda. But in the summer of 2015, a new chapter full of hope was written for the island’s natural history. For the first time in almost a century, baby green sea turtles emerged from beneath warm sands on a Bermuda beach and swam into the turquoise ocean off the east end of the island to start a long and challenging journey far out at sea. Sea turtles returned to the beach where they were born some two decades after hatching to lay eggs — and thus Bermuda now has an exciting promise for the return of green turtle nesting on its shores. Had it not been for the keen eyes of local resident Frank Burchall, we may never have known about this extraordinary event. The small sea turtle scurrying across the road was lit up in the headlights of his car. Burchall had the curiosity, caring and foresight to pick up the tiny turtle and deliver it to the Aquarium. After being identified as a hatchling green sea turtle, a flurry of early morning phone calls ensued and a team of euphoric conservationists descended onto the nearby beach to locate the nest. The beach was crisscrossed with tiny turtle tracks; late hatchlings were seen heading out to sea and a handful were found, disoriented, at the back of the beach caught up in long grass. Gentle hands guided the bamboozled babies into the ocean, and they were watched intently as they swam out to sea. An excavation of the nest site two days later revealed 90 empty eggs and confirmed a solid hope for their survival and the eventual return of green turtle nesting in Bermuda. Keep a keen eye out for turtle tracks on the beaches here. It may be time to “turn our lights out” and cherish the return of a breeding colony of green sea turtles, as was the case in 1609, when man first settled here!
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