Quito, Oct 7 (efe-epa).- Seventy-eight olive ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) hatched Wednesday on a beach in northern Ecuador ahead of others expected to take place in the coming months on the coasts of the country.
The hatching took place on the beach of Portete, in the province of Esmeraldas, in the Manglares Estuario Rio Muisne Wildlife Refuge.
There are 43 recorded nests that are part of the Sea Turtle Conservation Project, which is being developed with the support from the NGO WildAid, the Ministry of the Environment said in a statement.
“In the coming days and months we will have more hatchings. Our staff members are following up on more nests and we are proud of their great work that shows our commitment to the environment,” said Cristian Reyes, zonal coordinator of the ministry in Esmeraldas.
In this case, the 78 turtles emerged from a single nest, although more hatchlings are expected from the other nests.
After daytime monitoring by the Wildlife Refuge staff, they were finally able to capture a video of the small turtles making their way to the sea, a monitored process to protect them from possible predators.
Nest controls, which are part of the Biodiversity Management Program developed by the ministry, involve signaling and monitoring processes, in addition to strict measures to avoid tourists or animals that may affect the reproductive cycle.
With a size of up to 70 centimeters (27.5 inches) and 40 kilograms (88 pounds) in weight, the olive ridley is the second smallest of the sea turtles and belongs to the Cheloniidae family.
These turtles inhabit the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, where they can be found from the Galapagos Islands to California, both in shallow waters and in the open ocean.
They are known for their unique mass nesting, during which many females lay eggs on the same beach together, and return to the same beach they hatched on to lay their eggs as adults.
According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the olive ridley sea turtle is listed as vulnerable, for which Reyes recalled the urgent need to have support from international organizations to strengthen this process. EFE-EPA