Hatchling of Sea-Turtles “Boba” (Caretta caretta)

Loggerhead turtles on the Costa del Sol

A HAPPY ENDING – OR A BEGINNING?
THE MIRACLE IN MARBELLA HAS COME TO A HAPPY AND JOYFUL END WITH 49 LIVE SEA TURTLES (Caretta caretta)

16 long nights and hot days protecting and looking after the sea turtle nest have ended with the arrival of 49 live hatchlings. It is a miracle! On 6th August biologists and veterinarians from the Regional Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Sustainable Development moved the nest from Los Boliches in Fuengirola to the beach in Cabopino in the townland of Marbella, to save the sea turtle eggs from possible destruction because the mother had laid her eggs in an area of the beach too close to the intertidal zone. The scientific staff chose the Cabopino beach because it is mainly protected from bad weather, it provides the necessary humidity and has the optimum size of the sand grains, which guarantee an ideal oxygenation of the nest – all this to provide the best possible development of the embryos and a successful hatching.

Our ProDunas Association, under the guidelines of the Regional Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Sustainable Development and with the proper Legal Ruling, took charge of mobilising a responsible and committed force of volunteers. In just 3 days more than 200 had signed up. The 24-hour surveillance for the 16 days it took for the eggs to hatch proceeded without incident. It was the members of the night shift on 22nd September who activated the emergency protocol by calling 112 at 11:03 p.m. when a small sea turtle head emerged from a hole in the fenced in area round the nest. The volunteers then contacted us on our ProDunas Association number so we could get down to the beach and give emotional support to the volunteers who were there. Understandably, the excitement level was high. That night 37 sea turtles emerged, one after the other, to begin a dynamic adventure.

One night later, on 23rd September the volunteers were even more vigilant so as not to miss the slightest movement in the fenced in area round the nest and again the emergency protocol was activated when the call to 112 went out at 10:25 p.m. as 3 more little turtles appeared. The anticipation on 24th September ended with a further 6 little turtles arriving. 72 hours later the scientific protocol directed that the nest had to be dug out. In front of a silent, dedicated public, respecting the anti-Covid norms at all times, the biologists of the Junta de Andalucía helped 3 more little turtles to see the light of dusk! The thrill was contagious. Now there are 49 newly hatched sea turtles in the CEGMA (Centro de Gestión del Medio Marino Andaluz) in Algeciras who are busy doing their swimming exercises. They are in perfect condition.

ProDunas is proud to have been part of this great event and wants to thank all the selfless volunteers who have been lucky enough to witness this miracle of life.

Our express thanks go to the biologists and veterinarians who looked after the hatchlings, especially to the Ministry of the Environment, which established the guidelines; to Marbella Town Hall and especially to the Delegation of the Environment and Beaches whose staff showed up without delay when ProDunas needed them; to the Environment staff who sorted out rules regarding documentation from the registered volunteers; to Civil Protection who kept things calm during the hatching;  to the local Police, who made their rounds at night so that our volunteers were safe; to the volunteers of the Aula del Mar, who made their volunteering joining our volunteers,  and to Traffic, who got us parking so that the volunteers could park close to the nest although it was a no parking zone. Thank you to everyone who shared in this beautiful miracle.

Now we can all go back to our previous lives! ProDunas will get a photographic record to you all next week – ONCE AGAIN, THANK YOU – we will keep you up to date on developments.

SURVEILLANCE OF SEA TURTLES NEST – SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER

WE ARE LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS

 On 6th August we were notified by the Junta de Andalucía of the transfer and new location of 60 Sea Turtle eggs from Fuengirola to Marbella. Most unusually, a sea turtle of the Boba species had laid its eggs on the El Boliche beach but in a place that was very exposed to the waves and tides.

ProDunas will adhere to the guidelines of the Ministry of the Environment of the Junta de Andalucía to form part of the team to supervise and has offered to help with the job of looking after the sea turtle eggs until they hatch. We estimate that we will have to wait between 50 and 60 days until the hatch and the sea turtle hatchlings en masse dash to reach the sea. This will happen at night.

Surveillance will have to be triggered and reinforced towards the end of September. As we are in the middle of the summer season right now it does not leave us much time. We are already making appeals to our partners, friends and supporters who want to take part in this exciting experience to contact us. We are in the process of creating a database so it will be ready when the event occurs. This probably will not happen again for decades to come. (If these hatchlings come back to this beach in their turn to lay their eggs it could be 30 years or so from now.)

 ANY VOLUNTEERS?

Your work will consist of being physically present for between 1 to 3 hours at a time organised in day and night shifts. The stakeouts will be set up having calculated the time each volunteer can contribute. Groups of 2 or 3 people can volunteer together.

A tent and chairs will be supplied so that the stakeout is nice and comfortable. The Delegation of Environment and Beaches of Marbella Town Hall is working with us on this.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

So that we can let you know the dates when an active stakeout will be scheduled and coordinated with the Junta in in Seville / Malaga and which will be escalated as the time approaches for the eggs to hatch, we need to have the following data:

– Name and surname
– Passport or DNI/NIE

– Telephone contact

– Email

– Availability: number of days; day or night preference.

 Those interested are requested to send their data by email to: asociacion@produnas.org

or to our website: https://produnas.org/en/contact 

We feel sure that a lot of people will want to volunteer to support this project and marine wildlife in general. It must be understood that for now the exact location of the nest must be kept secret to avoid unwanted curiosity. The location will be made known in due course.

Thank you for your understanding

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Asociación ProDunas Marbella

The Association works tirelessly for the defence and preservation of the unique ecosystems that survive in the natural sand dune environments in the Province of Málaga; promotes the protection of native flora and small wildlife; promotes recovery, rehabilitation and conservation of interesting biodiversity of sand dunes areas in the municipality of Marbella.