Monday, August 27, 2012

And So the Dirty Work Begins Again...

Yesterday it rained most of the day. So it was a nice lazy day of watching Netflix (which is way better in Costa Rica, so many new movies) and catching up on sleep and paperwork.

At night we hit the beach at 8, but find the tide was too high and still increasing. So we postpone the patrol for an hour or so. Before heading back to the house, we check the hatchery to see if the nest that was brought to us had hatched. Good thing we did because there was one baby out of the nest dead and a crab hole going under the basket and into the nest. I began to dig cautiously into the crab hole hoping to remove the crab, so the nest could hatch normally. The only problem was the babies had crawled into the crab hole and the crab was nowhere to be seen.   After quick deliberation, I decided it was better to take the babies out of the nest and place them in a bucket than to leave anymore to die from the crab. We found 38 babies out of the 60 eggs and placed them in a bucket of sand and waited to release them until they were awake and ready.

An hour later, we carried the bucket of turtles out to the beach and watched as they ran for the whites of the waves.  It never ceases to amaze me how such small animals charge the waves with such force and no apparent fear! After we were sure they had made it to the water safe, we carried on with patrol not seeing a single turtle or poacher.

Today Lotti came in at 10:30 to remind me of  all the specifics of how to classify development of a turtle and gave the boys a quick lesson.

Here are the steps taken when conducting an exhumation…
  1. Dig out all the sand above the eggs and return it to the beach.
  2. Place all the eggs in the bucket and carry the bucket to the beach.
  3. Dump the bucket out.
  1. Start sorting the un-hatched eggs from the egg shells

  1. Count the hatched shells, which should match the number of babies hatched.
  2. Open all un- hatched eggs and record stage of development.
  3. Return to the hatchery to dig out another bucket of sand to ensure that all the dirty sand was touching the eggs.
  4. 2-3 days later re-fill hole with new sand.
Eggs shells being sorted and counted

Opening egg to determine development
Unfertilized egg after being in the ground for 45 days.
Stage 1A: Only sign of development is blood.

Stage 1B: Small fetal turtle
Stage 2: Fetus still half the size of a baby turtle.

Stage 3: Would have been just about ready to hatch
During our exhumation, we found one more live baby which we released after dark. We also determined that all 18 un-hatched eggs had arrived to a late stage of development and had the nest not faced so much trauma, it probably would have had a fantastic success rate.

Turtle Tracker:
Turtles Nested: 60
Eggs in the Hatchery: 3160
Babies Released: 41

Once again thank you Victor for being resident photographer. 

No comments:

Post a Comment