Friday, February 22, 2013

22/02/2013 Here Come the Hatchlings

Now that the hawksbill’s egg-laying season comes to a close, the GVI team at Curieuse can now see how fruitful the turtles’ efforts have been – and so far, the results are beyond the team’s wildest expectations. This week, GVI staff and volunteers have excavated 26 nests which have hatched, counting 3,815 hatched eggs, and in the process saving dozens of hatchlings which haven’t been able to find their way out of the nest on their own! Sounds like a lot, and it is, but bear in mind that statistically only 3 of all of this weeks hatchlings will live to reproduce...

These turtle hatchlings face some enormous tasks. After climbing their way out of a pile of sand the human equivalent of a 6 storey building, they have to run the gauntlet over a beach, past washed up obstacles like seaweed and dead branches, and need to avoid predatory crabs and birds as well. And then their adventurous journey in the seas and oceans only begins... with many fish and seabirds looking for a little hatchling-sized snack to contend with. And it is still a mystery what happens during the time turtle hatchlings grow up to a breeding age. But all the data the GVI team collect, will help worldwide efforts saving turtles from extinction, as all turtle species sadly are still (critically) endangered. Along with 1 in 5 of all reptile species in the world, according to a recent survey by the London Zoological Society.

Not all the work we carry out at Curieuse is as idyllic though. Some less than glamorous work also has to be done. Like setting up transects in the mangrove area, which involves hard work in a hot, sulphur oxide smelling environment. We’ve marked 10 transects so far, hammering 6 to 8 3cm thick plastic poles into the mud, each 50 metres apart. Just 18(?) more to go, sometimes knee deep in the dirt, wondering where your shoe has gone... But hey, mud is good for the skin, and it’s free here at Curieuse – how many people pay for such luxury in the spa?


Clash of the mini titans: skink vs centipede

A few days ago we were ring side spectators to a battle reminiscent of the dinosaur age: a skink decided it wanted a venomous centipede for dinner. As some of us have been victim to a painful bite of the giant centipedes, we were all rooting for the brave skink to come out as triumphant winner. And it did! But the fight was hard, lasting for over 10 minutes. Hard work for a juicy meal!