Guess very few people are aware of the turtles conservation centre at Pantai Kerachut, which is located in the Penang National Park – home to the green turtles.
Am I right?
No? Ok.. Never mind..
Let’s continue to talk about turtles. When I was a kid, I always watch Ninja Turtles cartoon. Still remember Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael and the Master Splinter?
Since then, I have developed an interest in turtles. Well.. basically I like to see them, hold them and learn about their behaviour.
Turtle is indeed a very unique creature and is the oldest reptile groups. They are even older than lizards and snakes but are highly endangered.
So, the moment I heard of the Save Turtles program, I jumped into it without any hesitations.
The night before the start of the program, we had a mini ceremony to release some turtles into the sea. They were about 50 of them or more.
Baby turtles are keep at the conservation centre for weeks before they are release to the sea. If the baby turtles stay too long at the centre, it will not be able to survive in the sea later on. For the sake of their survival, they need to search for foods in the sea from a very young age.
Torchlight is prohibited during the release of the turtles at night. But, luckily I was allowed to snap some photos with flash for a few times. I dare not continued after that as the flash light will make the baby turtles go blind.
Once in the sea, the baby turtles will swim for 7 consecutive days. From what I heard, the turtles are able to store foods in their body for a certain period of time. Can anyone confirms this?
There are hundreds of them released to the sea but not many can survive even a single day. The caretaker at the centre told me only 1 or 2 out of 10 baby turtles can survive beyond 2 or 3 days after their release to the sea. The rest will be eaten by the eagles and big fishes.
Poor baby turtles..
That is why not many turtles can survive until the age of 20, which is their maturity age. After more than 20 years ‘holidaying’, they will swim back to their birthplace to find partners to mate. One very fascinating fact about turtles is the female turtles need at least 4 males before it can start producing eggs.
During the mating the female turtles will store the sperm inside them. That means a single nest may hold babies from various fathers.
The fathers, after mating will continue their journey to search for foods and “holidaying”.
Amazing right? A turtle will have at least 4 fathers.
After mating, the females will swim around the area for awhile, before performs some ‘testing’ on the nearby beach. They will land on the beach to check for the cleanliness and if they are satisfy, they will return to lay eggs at the beach after a week or two.
Sometimes, the females need to perform ‘emergency landing’. At this point, they will directly land on the beach and lay eggs. Do remember that turtles do not like noise, lights and other disturbances, else they will go away from the beach. This happened at Pantai Kerachut during the late 1990s as too many visitors camped near the beach.
Oh yeah.. this wonderful moment only happens at night. Reptile such turtles cannot control their body temperature hence it will be too hot for them to land on the beach during the day.
Do you know that nest temperature can determine the sex of the baby turtles? Warmer temperature will increase the likelihood of having female turtles while cooler temperature will produces male turtles.
However, we cannot differentiate the sex of the turtles until it grows bigger. Male usually have a long,fat tail, while females have a shorter, thinner tail.
Now, it’s time to show you the awww…ying of the cute baby turtles. ENJOY!
Stretching it’s body.
Finally posed for me to shoot him. opss… maybe her. hehehe
Turtles are very unique, as I said but they are highly endangered as well. So, we must create awareness among Malaysians to protect and prevent this – oldest reptile from becoming extinct.
You can help in saving turtles by not throwing rubbish into the sea. Turtles often mistaken plastic bags thrown into the sea as jelly fish. Once eaten, the plastic bags will stay inside the turtle’s body as it cannot digest the plastic bags.The indigestion will then lead to the death of the turtles.
Secondly, do not eat the flesh and eggs. Do call the Jabatan Perikanan if you come across such person.
Finally, spread the words to save the turtles!