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Green sea turtles welcome nesting season in S China


Huidong Sea Turtle National Reserve, with a 1,500-meter-long beach, is the only place in Asia's continental shelf where green sea turtles lay eggs.

Every year, from March to April, green sea turtles migrate to the beach in Huizhou City, south China's Guangdong Province, to mate and lay their eggs.

Green sea turtles are listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species and are under China's first-class protection. They play a vital role in maintaining the health of the world's oceans. 


Wherever they are, turtles can sense the direction of the Earth's magnetic field and swim thousands of kilometers to return to the beach where they were born during the nesting season. Though they roam in the ocean for most of their life, they return to land to lay eggs and hatch their offspring. They build their nests, holes in the sand, at night before laying their eggs inside.

However, only about one in every 1,000 green turtles survives into adulthood. Commercial and recreational fishing gear, loss of nesting habitat from coastal development, and climate change are the biggest threats facing green turtles. Experts estimate that less than 2,000 adult green sea turtles are left in the entire South China Sea.

In recent years, the reserve has continued to overcome technical difficulties in artificial breeding, and more than 10,000 hatchlings have been artificially bred so far.

"As technology improves, it is expected to achieve the goal of artificially breeding 10,000 green sea turtles per year by 2029," said Lin Rijin, director of the administration office of the reserve.

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