Endangered olive sea turtle hatched in Cox’s Bazar

270 young turtles released into the sea

Published : 24 Mar 2023 07:59 PM

Olive Ridley turtles, world famous for coming to lay eggs, have started hatching in Cox’s Bazar Sadar Upazila.

These babies hatched from three hundred eggs of three turtles that came to lay eggs last January at Pechardwip Beach, about 15 kilometers south of Cox's Bazar city. The hatchlings are hatched in the tortoise hatchery of Nature Conservation Management (NECOM) Ecolife project funded by USAID under the supervision of Cox's Bazar South Forest Division. The eggs hatch after 60 to 65 days in the hatchery. 30–35 cubs died after hatching.

Bangladesh Marine Research Institute Director General (Additional Secretary) and Marine Scientist Syed Mahmud Belal Haider, Divisional Forest Officer of Cox's Bazar South Forest Division Sarwar Alam, Necom-Ecolife project sub-project director Dr Shafiqur Rahman and others.

The 270 hatchlings in the first hatchery this season were released into the sea around 6pm on Thursday.

Dr Shafiqur Rahman said that this year 58 turtles laid 7 thousand 528 eggs in different places of Cox's Bazar beach. Among them, 18 turtles laid two thousand 30 eggs in Pechardwip, 9 turtles laid 1 thousand 239 eggs in Sheelkhali and 31 turtles laid 4 thousand 259 eggs in Shah Parirdwip. And those

Collected and now being hatched in 3 hatcheries at Pechardwip, Sheelkhali and Shahparirdwip. Hopefully the sea turtles will come to lay their eggs in a few more days.

Claiming that the rate of turtle egg laying is gradually increasing, he said that turtles have laid more eggs this year than in the last three years. In 2022, turtles laid 5 thousand 763 eggs in 54 spots. The previous year in 2021, 4 thousand 713 eggs were laid.

Divisional Forest Officer of Cox's Bazar South Forest Division Sarwar Alam said that there is no alternative to increase public awareness to prevent the reproduction of sea turtles. However, neither the forest department nor Necom officials could provide any information about the sex of the released babies. Divisional forest officer Sarwar Alam and NECOM officer said that this information is not kept.

Marine scientist Syed Mahmood Belal Haider said, "We can control the sex of Ridley turtle hatchlings by controlling the temperature." Because at temperatures below 28 degrees the eggs are female and at temperatures above 29-30 degrees the eggs are male.

Male turtles never return to the coast, but female turtles return to their natal site to lay eggs after 19–20 years of adulthood. However, only one in a thousand children gets a chance to grow up in the sea and return to their birthplace.