Green turtles ‘attempting to nest on St Helena’

Green turtles have been attempting to nest on St Helena, the island’s marine conservation section has reported.

Part of Sandy Bay Beach is to be closed off while the conservation team finds out the state of the nests discovered.

A statement from St Helena Government did not say how or when the discovery was made, or by whom.

People are advised not to allow pets on to the beach or to use torches and flashlights at night to try to spot turtles, in case it deters any from nesting.

Visitors who see a turtle are asked to contact the marine conservation section by telephone (22270) or by emailing marine@enrd.gov.sh – but with no mobile phone coverage on the island, any call may come too late for an actual sighting to be confirmed.

Ascension is famed for its green turtle nesting season, but nests on St Helena – 700 miles away – would be a cause for great excitement. Turtles are seen in the waters close to the island.

Green turtles next on sandy marine beaches – though the “beach” at Sandy Bay is made up of very harsh sand. They lay an average of six clutches of 120 eggs within a nesting season, at intervals of three or four years.

Hatchlings emerge 45 – 60 days after nesting, normally at night, and disperse rapidly into the open ocean.

Any green turtles nesting at St Helena are likely to spend much of their year foraging along a 6,000 km stretch of coastline from northern Argentina to northern Brazil.

Green turtles are protected under island and international agreements.

They are listed on the Schedule of the Endangered Species Protection Ordinance, 1996, which forbids anyone from endangering their welfare, killing or capturing them, or taking their eggs.

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