Guangdong conservationists monitor green sea turtles during breeding season

A green sea turtle dragged herself up on the beach at 10 p.m. and dug a hole for her eggs. She completed her task an hour later, closed the nest and returned to the water, leaving the eggs to hatch by themselves.

Named Xiang Xiang, this artificially bred sea turtle living in Sea Turtle Bay in Huizhou City, south China's Guangdong Province, is 30 years old. According to a staff member of the Huidong Sea Turtle National Nature Reserve, Xiang Xiang was the first spotted green sea turtle to lay eggs this year – her second visit after the first in 2017.

Staff members reckoned that she hadn't chosen an ideal spot and decided to intervene. "We felt that the location where she laid the eggs is not very ideal and close to rocks. We also worried that the nest would be too shallow, so we decided to intervene," said Yu Guozhong of the reserve. They transferred her 89 eggs to a better location.

Last year, nine female green sea turtles came back to the Sea Turtle Bay to lay eggs, and 1,880 baby turtles hatched successfully. Conservationists expect a reduced number of eggs this year because of temperature changes.

"The temperatures are slightly lower. According to our observation, both the male and female turtles are less active than in previous years, so we speculate the egg numbers this year will be lower," Yu said.

There are seven existing species of sea turtles in the world, with most of them listed as either vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered. The Huidong Sea Turtle National Nature Reserve has increased scientific monitoring and management of the turtles' habitat in recent years.

(Cover image is a screenshot)

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