Agriculture, Fisheries and Natural Environment reports on the start of the hatching of sea turtles in the Ibiza nests

Sep 4, 2023 | Current affairs, Featured, Revista Lloseta, Thursday Daily Bulletin, Tradition

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Natural Environment, through the Species Protection Service of the Directorate General of Natural Environment and Forest Management, and the Consortium for the Recovery of the Fauna of the Balearic Islands (COFIB), confirmed today that, early Thursday morning, the first hatchlings of sea turtles have been born in the nest that was incubated on the beach of es Cavallet, in the Parc Natural de ses Salines d’Eivissa i Formentera, since last July 12.

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Agriculture, Fisheries and Natural Environment

The head of the Species Protection Service of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Natural Environment, Tomàs Bosch, and the manager of COFIB, Luís Parpal, wanted to personally thank all the organizations involved for their contribution to bringing this event to an end. They were also accompanied by the Councilor for the Environment of Ibiza, Ignacio José Andrés; the Councilor for the Environment of the City of Sant Josep, Felicia Bocu Cus; the first deputy mayor of the City of Santa Eulalia des Riu, Miguel Tur Rubio; Environmental Agents of the Government, the director of the Parc Natural de ses Salines d’Eivissa i Formentera, Marta Castelló, representatives of COFIB and GEN-GOB volunteers who have ensured the safety of the nest.

Once again, Bosch wanted to highlight the collaboration and citizen responsibility in the preservation of the environment in these nests of catalogued and protected species, as well as the task of the 52 volunteers who have worked during these weeks. “It is expected that these episodes will continue to be common on our beaches because of climate change, and even increase. Therefore, it is important that society becomes aware of it.”

For his part, Parpal wanted to thank the work done by the veterinary clinics Eivivet and Formentera, as well as the Fundació Natura Parc. “At the moment, a total of 111 sea turtles have been born this year in the Balearic Islands. However, the final count of this nest and the nest of ses Salines is still missing”, he explained.

The beginning of the hatchings took place last Wednesday; specifically, the first one occurred around 21:30 hours; the rest were during the early hours of Thursday morning. The volunteer team that guards the nest has confirmed the presence of 13 sea turtle hatchlings that emerged from the sand 51 days since their laying on July 10th on the beach of Santa Eulària des Riu. It should be remembered that 91 eggs were laid, 10 of which were transferred to artificial incubation. These specimens will be identified individually and the buoyancy test will be carried out. Subsequently, they will be transferred to the IRFAP-LIMIA facilities in Puerto de Andratx, where the Marine Fauna Department of COFIB will be responsible for assessing their condition and their care and breeding until the time of their reintroduction into the sea.

To the specimens born on the beach must be added two more animals that have been born the previous days to the artificial incubator of the 10 that were removed from the nest.

On the other hand, it should be remembered that on July 10 there was another sea turtle nest on the beach of Es Figueral, Santa Eulària, Ibiza, which only had 12 eggs. All of these eggs were transferred to the IRFAP-LIMIA facilities for artificial incubation, from which a total of 8 animals were born in the past few days.

The sea turtles hatched in the nests of the Balearic Islands will be part of the Head Starting program, in accordance with the national strategy for the species and in collaboration with other autonomous communities. This strategy consists of a breeding program in a controlled artificial environment lasting between 10 and 12 months. Thanks to this program, the chances of survival of these animals once they are returned to the sea increase exponentially.

1 active nest

It should be remembered that this is the fourth sea turtle nest that has been registered this season in the Balearic Islands, of the 5 nests that have been located this season in the archipelago. The other 4 nests have occurred on the beach of Can Pere Antoni, in Mallorca (from which 23 turtles have hatched recently), on the beach of Cala Millor, also in Mallorca (from which more than 50 turtles have hatched this week). The three nests in Ibiza are still awaiting the start of the hatching of the last nest.

The entire nest care and management operation, as well as the care and rearing of the hatchlings, is directed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and the Environment through the Marine Fauna Department of COFIB (Consortium for the Recovery of the Fauna of the Balearic Islands), which depends on the Species Protection Service.

The sea turtle Caretta caretta is a species listed as Vulnerable in the Spanish Catalogue of Threatened Species, It usually reproduces in the eastern Mediterranean and that, it was not been until the early twenty-first century that has began to nest in the western Mediterranean, most likely due to the increase in sea temperature.

For all these reasons, the maximum collaboration of all citizens is requested in order to preserve the nests. We are in the middle of the nesting season of this species and, consequently, it is likely that there are other nests on the beaches of the Balearic Islands that have not been detected and that there are more nesting attempts. Therefore, it is necessary to notify 112 immediately if we detect hatchlings on the beach, a turtle making a nest or a trail in the sand.