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Loggerhead turtles hatch overnight in Ramla l-Ħamra

At least 22 loggerhead turtles hatched from an unreported nest in Ramla l-Ħamra in Gozo this weekend. According to the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA), the nest was close to last year’s nests, which were found in the bay, but since it was undiscovered, no protection was provided and that in itself raised fears of a low outcome of hatchlings.

A perimeter was erected around the site and constant monitoring of the nest will continue, to keep an eye on the hatched and unhatched eggs. The nest will also be cleaned eventually, to protect any remaining eggs.

Apart from the monitoring of the area for any illegal human activity, Nature Trust will also be on the lookout for any predators, such as the ghost crab, which is known for feasting on eggs. Seeing as this particular species of crab is also protected, it makes the situation a little more delicate.

Footage: Wildlife Rescue Team Malta

ERA said it would like to raise awareness on the importance of reporting any turtle nests, to make sure that they’ll be protected properly and to increase their chances of survival.

The loggerhead turtle, also known as il-fekruna l-komuni in Maltese, is a long-living, slowly maturing species that inhabits tropical to warm temperate areas.

The species is classified as globally endangered by the World Conservation Area (IUCN) and is also protected by various national and international legislation. Therefore, killing, capturing, taking and trading these turtles (and that includes its hatchlings), as well as the deliberate disturbance of this species, particularly during the period of breeding, rearing and migration, is prohibited and subject to legal action.

The national flora, fauna and Natural Habitats Protection Regulations impose a minimum fee of nearly €500 and it goes up to almost €2,400 for each egg that may be destroyed or taken from the wild.

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