Marine turtles are a group of large, air-breathing reptiles that spend most of their lives in the ocean. They belong to the family Cheloniidae and the genus Dermochelyidae, and there are seven species of these reptiles found in oceans all over the world, except for the polar regions.
These animals are easily recognizable due to their distinctive shells, which consist of a hard upper shell, known as the carapace, and a lower shell called the plastron.
Great to hear that many of the sea turtle eggs that made the news earlier this year for being the first recorded nest of the season in the entire Western Mediterranean have hatched and entered the sea.
Since the discovery of the nest the site has had a 24 hour volunteer network taking care of it. Once the notice was received that the volunteers, who were guarding the nest, had seen the first turtles emerge, staff from the CRAM Foundation Clinic and Rescue Area team as well as Elena Abella from the University of Vic (Caretta a la Vista Project) and technicians from the Generalitat de Catalunya traveled to the area.
A total of 44 sea turtles emerged and 34 found their way to the sea whilst 10 were captured and transferred to the facilities of the CRAM Foundation where they will be part of a study project and reared in captivity until they reach the optimum weight for their reintroduction.
The next day the nest site was excavated and 38 undeveloped eggs were found along with one live turtle hatchling that was having difficulty exiting the egg due to a malformed body shell. This individual has also been transferred for hand rearing. 2 other hatchlings were found dead.
When the nest site was discovered earlier this summer 61 eggs were removed for artificial incubation and 30 were found to be fertile. These hatchlings will also be part of the reintroduction program.