Sea Turtle Nest Relocation and Egg Hatchery Program
Sea turtle eggs are vulnerable to non indigenous predators. Poaching, wild dogs, and other predators are the reason for such high mortality rates of hatchlings. The Sea Turtle Rescue Team patrols the beaches at night searching for mother sea turtles that have come onto the beach to nest and lay their eggs. The nightly mission of our team of volunteers is to locate these sea turtles and secure the eggs within the nest before they become victim of another predator or poacher.
The sea turtle eggs are then relocated to one of our hatcheries where they will be safe and secure. Our hatcheries can accommodate between 400 and 800 nests. Each nest can contains approximately 130 eggs per nest. During the eggs incubation period, which usually lasts for about six to ten weeks, the team monitors and protects the eggs.
Each hatchery is built by an all volunteer staff. The land that the hatcheries are on is all donated. It takes a lot of hard work and sweat to build a hatchery. Each hatchery location must be dug four feet down and then the walls of the hatchery are lined with mesh to keep out the crabs that feast on the eggs. The walls of each hatchery are six feet tall and prevent wild dogs and other predators from taking the eggs. Each hatchery must be guarded at night to ensure that poachers will not come and take the eggs.
Once the hatchlings begin to emerge from their nests they are escorted to the sea a team of dedicated volunteers. The team ensures that nothing harms the baby sea turtles as they enter the water. The babies still have to make it past the crashing waves of the sea and through shark infested waters. Some of the more daring volunteers will swim the babies out past the beakers and to the relative safety of the open sea.