25/09/2012

Olive Ridley turtles find their home on Kuta beach


Kuta beach has often been a site for the release of hundreds of Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) baby turtles taken from the hatching site managed by the Bali Sea Turtle Society.

 The release of baby turtles always attracts locals and tourists, who enthusiastically participate in the event. Therefore, the society uses this event to campaign for turtle protection and collect donations for conservation efforts.

Freedom: Sea turtle hatchlings move toward the ocean.Freedom: Sea turtle hatchlings move toward the ocean. The Olive Ridley turtle is one of seven species of turtle found in Indonesian waters. The number of female turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs can reach five per day. As they usually come in groups, they compete to find the best place to nest on the beach.

 This olive-colored species has an almost round shell with six or more pairs of costal scutes. It typically nests one to three times per season, producing about 100 to 120 eggs on each occasion. The inter-nesting interval is variable, but it is approximately 20 to 28 days. It will migrate every one or two years.

 This turtle reaches sexual maturity at the age of 30, with a range of two to eight years, depending on its migration between the feeding and breeding sites.
 The male and the female usually breed close to the nesting beach. The female will then live temporarily on the beach walking ashore to lay eggs and use its flippers to dig a hole of 50 to 70 centimeters depth and close the hole afterward.

Hatching sites set on Kuta beach

Kuta Turtle Conservation Center is gearing up for a new breeding season, predicted for June and July, when thousands of turtle eggs will hatch on temporary sites on Kuta Beach.

I Gusti Ngurah Tresna, head of Kuta Beach Lifeguard Security, said the center was now busy placing temporary hatching sites created from rectangular pieces of plywood measuring 2.5 meters by 1.5 meters to enable turtles to hatch their eggs.
“There are enough to hatch 2,000 eggs,” explained Gung Aji, popularly known as Mr. Turtle for his dedication to protect the sea turtles on Kuta Beach.
On Monday, there were three to eight turtles, more will come; they lay hundreds of eggs every day, he said.
“A turtle can produce 650 eggs. We are expecting more turtles to produce thousands of eggs in the coming months,” smiled Gung Aji.
Gung Aji explained that Kuta Beach is not only famous as a tourist destination and surf paradise, but also as an important conservation center for the endangered sea turtles in Bali.