Let's talk about babies 👶
I meant sea #turtle babies!
As much as #ecotourism helps to spread the word, I have been quite annoyed to see some posts on social medias that involve #babyturtles being released by #tourists without proper guidelines.
The "selfie with a baby" mode is a serious problem within our job and let me explain you why:
✔Hatchlings should not be kept once they emerged from the nest. Unless the #hatchery is collecting information on the #neonates (which takes less than 30 min) they should be released straight away. Why? ✔Because babies start walking/swimming frantically towards the sea. They are "programmed" for that and will waste tons of energy trying to do so. Energy they won't have to pass the waves and swim away from shallow coastal areas (plenty of predators near the shore).
✔Releasing them at sea is not recommended either since #seaturtles come back to the area where they were born (homing phenomenon), they need to gather as many cues as possible, it also gets their little muscles going before reaching the sea.
✔Day time release: the biggest error. Unless it is 5am or 5pm, raining like hell, cloudy (or the staff is doing a nest excavation, AFTER natural hatching occured), neonates should not be released in the scorching sun. They do not regulate their body temperature, thus releasing them at midday is pure torture. Also, turtles naturally hatch at night time (99% of the time), so the release should occur during that time.
✔The coconut (or bucket)full of water release.. I have no other comment than:WTF? Seriously, I am sure it looks great on Instagram, but it is everything but #ethicaltourism.
✔Few days old neonates : No No & No. That should not happen. Sent them full of energy to the sea, not as fish bait.
✔Be an educated tourist and avoid turtle hatcheries that are used as money machines rather than conservation tools.
✔Hatcheries should be used as a last resort when poaching/erosion/flood/dogs are so bad than the natural nests have no chances of survival, the last reason being tourist attractions.
#marinewildlife #saveturtles #seaturtle #wildlife #conservation #tooraretowear #marineprotection #biologist #environmentaleducation