An olive ridley sea turtle has given a thumbs up to last years closure of Boracay by laying 106 eggs in the newly pristine sands of the Movenpick Resort and Spa. When it was discovered the resort called the Department of Environment and Natural Resources who turned up promptly and built a fence around them. Movenpick will be taking responsibility for them over the next 8-10 weeks until the hatchlings have made their way safely to the ocean.
Olive ridleys are the smallest of the sea turtles growing to only about 60 cm (2 ft). They get their name from their olive coloured, heart shaped shell. The turtles are listed as vulnerable according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and are protected by law. However enforcing the law is easier said the done. They frequently fall victim to poor fishing practices and boat collisions. Egg collecting and the harvesting of adults from the sea for both the meat and hide still remains a serious threat worldwide. Also, because hatchlings use light cues to help them find the sea many are misled by electric light sources and never get there.
Boracay, which had closed for six months, reopened in October last year after a major cleanup operation. What had once been a paradise island had become a “cesspool” according Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte due uncontrolled development. The olive ridley, which prefers to lay its eggs well away from human development, is evidence that the islands rehabilitation has been successful.
Photo: Olive ridley hatchling (Steve Jurvetson via Wikimedia Commons)