Sea Turtles Rise (Aww!)

October 9, 2015

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Photo Credit: ©Laura Irvine/WCS

Behold Hawksbill sea turtle hatchlings as they make a break for the ocean in Nicaragua.

Believe it or not, all these little ones come from the same nest (nests average around 150 eggs per). Typically, the eggs hatch at night, though occasionally report our colleagues there, they settle for a cool, rainy day, as they have here. For these turtles, there are obstacles ahead. It's estimated that only one out of every 1,000 eggs will become an adult turtle.

The sheer number of nests is on the rise in the Pearl Cays, though, where this was taken, thanks in large part to WCS's 16-year-old Hawksbill Conservation Project. This year, in fact, the program has broken its record for the most Hawksbill sea turtle nests in a single season—485 (including the above), topping the previous high of 475 in 2014.

Things have come a long way. When the project began in 2000, there were 154 nests and the turtles were in big trouble, thanks largely to poaching.

Kabu Tours, run out of the WCS Nicaragua office, is among the efforts aiding these small climbers in their recovery. For this project, green sea turtle fishers (who are legally allowed to fish these sea turtles as members of an indigenous community) agree to give up fishing and promote conservation tourism instead.

WCS's presence at the field site, engagement programs with local fishers, and outreach to local communities have all contributed heavily to these great results, too.

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