The team at Thanda Island, the exclusive Indian Ocean hideaway off the southern coast of Tanzania, was overjoyed to witness the final two Green Turtle hatchings this month after an anxious wait
The nest site had been checked daily every high tide and at cooler times of the day when turtles are most likely to hatch, and when nothing seemed to be happening a week after the expected date of May 27, Thanda Island staff called in marine conservation NGO partner Sea Sense
The experts confirmed that a strange banana-shaped hole spotted near to the nest site had been created by the digging of the hatchlings as they made their escape to the sea – only the night before. Investigating further with all of Thanda Island’s staff looking on, to help further their turtle conservation training, the experts came across a little turtle wriggling its way out of the sand.
They watched in awe as it swung its small body in the direction of the ocean and followed it as it moved, one flipper after the other, with all its strength, until it arrived at the water’s edge. After witnessing one last turtle’s dash for the ocean, the team counted the shells of 110 hatchlings and 7 underdeveloped eggs – an impressive number.
The first turtle hatching on the island in seven years, this was a particularly poignant moment for the island team. Feeling blessed by having been touched by this little creature, and knowing the long journey that it now faces, they hope and look forward to seeing it again over the next 25-30 years.
Furthering their commitment to the conservation of the region’s sea turtles, Thanda Island works with the Tanzanian marine conservation NGO to address a shared concern for the biodiversity of these waters. Although Sea Sense has worked hard to implement a series of successful measures to reduce the routine poaching of turtle nests off nearby Mafia Island, sadly the practice has not yet been abandoned on the smaller islands around Mafia. More than half of all nests laid in Tanzania each year are laid around Mafia Island. Thanda’s staff undergo regular turtle conservation training comprising essential field skills such as nest protection, relocation (should it be required) and post-hatching excavations to record hatching success.
- All-inclusive use of Thanda Island is offered at US$10,000 per night
- Green turtles are named for the colour of their cartilage and fat, not their shells. They migrate long distances between feeding grounds and the beaches they hatched from. Classified as endangered, green turtles are threatened by overharvesting of their eggs, hunting, being caught in fishing gear and loss of nesting beach sites. Source WWF