Today the last know turtle nest was dug up at Għadira Bay following a successful incubation period. This nest yielded a further 10 hatchlings thus bringing the nest’s total to 71 hatchlings and bringing this year’s turtle nesting season to a successful close. This summer Malta and Gozo hosted 7 nests, 3 of which went unreported up until the time of hatching.
Regrettably, the nest found at St Thomas Bay, Marsaskala and the first reported nest at Għadira Bay were mostly unsuccessful due to various factors:
- In the case of St Thomas Bay – the low success rate can be mainly attributed to the trampling which occurred on the nest site. The site was unfortunately located in a central part of the beach, thus being exposed to heavy foot traffic. This situation demonstrates what can occur if a turtle nest is not properly protected through legal and physical on-site measures such as cordoning. In this instance protection was not given to the nest as it was not reported, hence proper measures could not have been put in place.
- In the case of the first reported nest at Għadira Bay – the low success rate can be attributed to the heavy rainfall which was experienced nearing the end of the incubation period. The location of the nest on the beach was susceptible to flooding due to its elevation and its proximity to the path through which rainwater is discharged to the sea. While measures in the form of sandbags and gullies were put in place to mitigate possible impacts of the rain, the nest only yielded a total of 17 hatchlings.
When summed up, the nests yielded a total of 320 hatchlings, resulting in the most successful turtle nesting season in local recorded history.
ERA would like to thank NTM, the Ministry for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning (MECP) and all volunteers who contributed their time to achieve the protection of this species and the strengthening of marine biodiversity in Malta. ERA also thanks all other entities that contributed to this achievement.
(Photo and Video Credits: ERA/Mark Zammit Cordina)
9 October 2020