Critically endangered Hawksbill turtle eggs hatched at East Coast beach
About 120 hatchlings of the critically endangered Hawksbill turtle emerged from their nest in East Coast beach and made their way to the sea under the watchful eyes of NParks conservation officers on Monday morning.
This is the first time the turtles hatched from a monitored nest.
“We were alerted by a member of the public who spotted a nesting turtle, and we went down and found the nest. We put a mesh over the eggs to ensure that natural predators like monitor lizards cannot reach them,” said Mr Collin Tong, deputy director of the coastal and marine branch at NParks, told The Straits Times.
The officers took measurements of the hatchlings to determine their health status.
The Hawksbill Turtle is one of two species of marine turtle that can be found in Singapore waters, the other being the Green Turtle.
Every year, a few female Hawksbill turtles return to Singapore’s shores to lay their eggs.
To improve the hatchlings’ chances of survival, NParks established in 2018 a turtle hatchery on Small Sister’s Island to provide a conducive environment for turtle hatchlings to incubate, hatch safely and make it out to sea.
Professor Leo Tan, Emeritus Professor at the National University of Singapore and the chairman of the Garden City Fund, said: “If these hatchlings survive, some of them will return 30 years from now to nest. That is, if the beach is still here.”
The Hawksbill Turtle is a protected species under the Wildlife Act, and members of public are not permitted to collect the hatchlings or the eggs.
If you spot hatchlings or a nesting turtle, please keep a safe distance, keep noise levels low by speaking softly and avoid touching them.
For more information on what to do when encountering these animals, please visit www.go.gov.sg/turtle-advisory.