The Conflict Islands Conservation Initiative the Turtle Nursery in January 2017, with the first baby turtles emerging from the hatchery on the 10th January 2017. When a sea turtle hatchling is born it only has a 1% chance of reaching adulthood, with the majority of sea turtles dying in the first few hours after hatching. Our nursery aims to increase the survival rate of endangered sea turtles born at the Conflict Islands, by raising the turtles up to a bigger size and releasing them offshore. This will decrease the number of predators able to eat the turtles and subsequently increase the percentage of turtles reaching maturity.
Turtles are released at varying ages, ranging from newborn to 1 year old. A release checklist is used to determine whether a turtle is ready for a release, this is based on the turtle’s health, swimming ability and eating habits. The location of release will vary with each turtle release to stop sharks and fish learning where they can get a free feed! Turtles released within the first few days will be released onto the sand and allowed to walk into the water. Older turtles will be released offshore into deeper water. Future research needs to be done to determine the optimum time and location to release a turtle at the Conflict Islands.
All of the turtles hatching from our turtle hatchery have their health checked and they are weighed, measured, photographed and given an ID number. The ID numbers are used to keep track of the turtles’ health, how much food they eat and their growth rate. The turtles are released at varying ages, from newborn to one year old.
Our turtles are fed on a gelatine based diet, made using our gourmet turtle feed recipe that has a perfect mix of protein, fat and vitamins for our baby turtles to grow healthy and strong.
When the turtles are being prepared for release they will be fed a mix of fresh meat, live food and algae to mimic their natural diets equip them with the skills to hunt in the wild.
Daily nursery jobs include; feeding the turtles (they must eat 1/3 of their body weight daily), cleaning the turtles (ensuring no algae is growing), cleaning the tanks, checking the water temperature and preparing food for the next day.
Weekly nursery jobs include; weighing and measuring the turtles.