This is the heart-warming moment 100 endangered newborn turtles scamper into the sea – not to return for another 20 YEARS.
Onlookers spotted the mother hawksbill turtle laying the eggs on August 23 at East Coast Park in Singapore. Conservationists then moved them to a quieter area away from the beach where they could be protected.
Several of the eggs were eaten by predators but exactly 100 of the critically endangered turtles hatched successfully.
Wildlife workers checked each turtle, recorded their weight and length, then watched them run with glee along the beach into the ocean on November 12.
The fleeting moment of joy as their feet touch the sand for the first time allows the turtles to-make an incredible imprint in their minds of the exact location where they were born.
The mysterious process known as ‘imprinting’ or ‘natal homing’ has long baffled wildlife experts as the process sees turtles migrate thousands of miles across the ocean but always return home – sometimes decades in the future.
Trisha Eng from the National Parks Board in Singapore was involved with the release. She said: ‘’Imprinting involves the turtle hatchlings crawling from the beach towards the water themselves, and natal homing is where these turtles will be able to orientate themselves and navigate back to the area they have imprinted when they have matured and are ready to lay their eggs.”
NParks said that the turtle’s original nest was in a “high risk” area and moved the eggs away from members of the public and pollution. They monitored the eggs and then helped the babies make the risky journey into the ocean.
The organisation said: ”While we did lose some of the eggs to natural predators, we saw a total of about 100 eggs successfully hatch to produce hatchlings.
”Following best practices for turtle management procedure during the entire process, our team of marine biologists recorded vital statistics of the little ones, such as their weight and carapace length. We also inspected each and every one of them for any deformities on their shell or body.
”Once the data collection was done, the hatchlings were released onto the beach, where we let them crawl towards the water themselves.
”This is important as it allows them to orientate themselves – a process called imprinting – so that they will be able to navigate back to the area when they have matured and are ready to lay their eggs (over 20 years later!) We wish these hatchlings all the best and hope to see them back on our shores again someday.’’