The Turtle Centre’s breeding program is reporting record nesting rates in its most successful exercise yet.
In July, 11 of the Turtle Centre’s breeding green sea turtles laid almost 900 eggs in one night. Experts say it’s a huge success, and a positive sign for this year’s overall numbers.
“Last year we had 26,000 eggs total. So we imagine we’ll wind up about 25-30% higher than last year,” Cayman Turtle Centre Chief Research Officer, Walter Mustin, said.
But how many of the eggs will actually become hatchlings? It’s still too early to tell, but information about the breeding turtles and data from previous years do offer some clues. And based on those signs, experts at the Centre say things are looking good.
“We’ve had clutches as high as 79% hatch rate, so we’re hopeful that it will be an improvement and a good year.”
The hatch rate in captivity is still lower than that in the wild, but the turtle Centre is making efforts to improve on their figures on a number of different fronts.
“We’re in the process of modifying the breeder diet to better mimic the wild diet, so I think we’ll see some improvement there,” Mr. Mustin said.
All of their hard work seems to be paying off. Laying and hatch rates at the facility are up, and turtles from the Centre’s release program are thriving in the wild and coming home to nest.
“We have about 60 green sea turtles returning to Cayman, 5 of those were released by the Turtle Centre.”
Since the Turtle Centre aims to promote conservation of the green sea turtle, this year’s figures are exciting news, since higher nesting and hatch rates mean more turtles can be released into the wild.
Cayman 27′s Cori Myles reports.