Witness A Baby Turtle Release At White Sands Island, Tanjung Pinang

Recently, I had the honor of visiting White Sands Island at Tanjung Pinang, Indonesia, where they were running a turtle conservation program.

Nesting Season

Sometime around August, female turtles would come up to the island to dig a hole and lay their eggs. They then return to the ocean and never come back to check on the eggs again. These eggs and subsequently, the hatchlings, are left vulnerable. Here is where we can come in!

The staff at White Sands Island are always on the lookout for indications of a nest, such as the tracks left by a female turtle on the beach. They then help to locate the eggs.

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A nest found on the island

The area where the nest is found is fenced up to protect the eggs until they are ready to hatch.

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Protecting the nest

Hatching!

The eggs are estimated to hatch about 2 months after. Once hatched, the baby turtles are transferred to pails/tanks where they are kept up till their release date.

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When I was at the island, they were in the process of building a gorgeous new sanctuary with an large tank to house the baby turtles.

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The Release

After keeping the baby turtles for a specified period of time as discussed with Banyan Tree Turtle Conservation, they are ready to be released into their new home in the sea.

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We each get a bowl with a baby turtle in it to release, avoiding holding them in our hands. This is because the chemicals or natural oils on human skin might interfere with the baby turtle’s natural process of imprinting to their natal beach. Imprinting is a crucial part of the turtle’s life as years later, it guides them to return to their natal beach to nest and reproduce. We also release them on the sand and let them crawl down to mimic nature’s process as closely as we can.

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It takes them quite a while to make their way down into the water as they are so tiny. The grains of sand look so big on these babies!

Even when they reach the shore, they get washed around so easily by the waves and the current as they attempt to get out into the waters.

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I look at these fragile creatures fighting hard against the waves to get out into the sea and it inspires me how awesome and strong nature’s children can be. It breaks my heart that the survival rate of turtles are so low and most will not be able to make it to adulthood…Not only do turtles face dangers from predators, they also face endangerment from humankind’s activities.

But I am relieved that White Sands Island has contributed in giving them their best chance at survival by protecting the eggs and the new hatchlings until they are ready to be released back into the wild.

~All the best to the baby turtles, and bon voyage~

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3 comments

  1. What a nice experience! I (Daphne from Girlswanderlust) also took part in a turtle conservation program two years ago on Serangan Island, Bali. I am happy that Indonesia knows so many conservation programs to save the turtles. They are beautiful creatures and it is very important to protect, cure and save them!

    Liked by 2 people

      • Definitely! I always love to take care in conservation projects when I am abroad. I helped for instance on a nursery in South-Africa, helped bathing elephants in Nepal, helped in forestry in Sweden to protect the forests and not to forget, my experience in Indonesia with the turtles! It is great to be part of things to save the nature and animals while travelling!

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