|Conch Farm gets 7 baby green turtles|
|Written by Richard Green/fp staff|
|Thursday, 02 December 2010 09:13|
Seven baby green sea turtles are calling the Conch Farm home for now, and the hope is that they don’t end up like most of the conch at the farm — on the supper table.
The turtles, all born in the Turks and Caicos Islands, were brought to the Providenciales farm Nov. 29 by Amdeep Sanghera of the U.K.’s Marine Conservation Society.
They will spend a year or more at the farm, where they will grow to 20-25 centimetres in diameter, Sanghera said.
“Then we’ll release them in a safe environment in the national park, maybe Coral Gardens, and hopefully they’ll settle down,” he said.
The idea is that the bigger turtles will have a better chance at survival than would hatchlings, and perhaps they’ll return to nest in the TCI.
“Nesting turtles in the Turks and Caicos Islands are very few in number, probably due to historical harvests,” said Sanghera, who is studying turtles in the TCI.
The green turtle is a threatened species and cannot be fished in many parts of the world, but turtles are often caught by local fisherman and eaten by residents.
The only TCI laws protecting turtles prohibit taking a turtle while it is nesting and catching a turtle that is under 20 inches in diameter, Sanghera said. Those laws might need to be tightened to ensure that turtles aren’t fished out of existence here.
Research is going on throughout the U.K.’s overseas territories, including the TCI, in an attempt to establish sustainable management of turtle fisheries through a scientifically informed fishery management plan and legislative amendments.
The seven little turtles will eat mostly conch as youngsters, fed to them by Conch Farm Engineer Eiglys Trejo, but once released they will eventually switch their diet to seagrass. Unlike other sea turtles, green turtles are mostly vegetarians.
The little ones aren’t the first to take up residence at the Conch Farm. In 2005 one baby loggerhead turtle that hatched on Long Bay Beach spent his first year at the farm.
Dubbed “Mr. T,” the young turtle traveled to the islands’ schools as part of an educational program, then was set free in Grace Bay.
For more information on turtles, visit www.seaturtle.org.
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TCI Protected Areas Series
The fp is publishing a series of articles on the Turks and Caicos Islands Protected Area System to increase public awareness and respect for the beauty and value of this "beautiful by nature" country.
The authors, marine ecologist Marsha Pardee and terrestrial ecologist Kathleen Wood, are long-time TCI residents and respected scientists in their fields.
Below are links to their articles, plus related news articles, documents and laws.
- 29/7/10: Chalk Sound National Park: Beauty and ecology
- 22/7/10: Protected Areas designations and differences
- 15/7/10: Long-term prosperity vs. short-term gain
- 8/7/10: Protected Areas save environment, generate revenue
- 5/8/10: Frenchman’s Creek: Prime real estate of TCI wetlands
Related news articles
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Links to environmental documents and laws