Turtle Eggs Rescue
Being preyed by stray dogs is the main reason why turtle eggs need to be rescued, otherwise all will perish before sunrise. The nesting season in Bali starts around March through September each year and they choose to lay eggs at night after 11.00pm until dawn. The months of June, July and August are considered the peak nesting season when we need to stay awake almost nightly to ensure they are safe from dogs. Turtles normally prefer a full or new moon to be aided by higher tides. Only female turtles will come back to the shore to lay eggs during the season. The patrolling area is limited only to Gianyar’s coastline spanning around 15km long, comprising the beaches of Lembeng, Purnama, Saba, Keramas, Masceti, Cucuk, Lebih and Siut. Our members are scheduled by area and equipped with flashlights and egg containers to keep them protected as eggs are sensitive to air, water and sunlight.
The incubation process for Olive Ridley (the targeted species in our conservation efforts) takes around 45 to 50 days, depending on the weather as well. Success rate is up to 80% unless for unhealthy eggs that mostly come from first timers, and also due to extreme weather conditions. There is a weak temporary fence protecting the whole sanctuary, however the incubator is covered with fishing nets to secure the eggs and baby turtles from predators such as dogs and birds.
Treatments are only applicable for rescued turtles that suffer from disabilities, are injured or sick. They are kept in the sanctuary’s ponds over a certain period until they are fully recovered and ready to continue their journey in the wild. We carry out a lot of coordination with other conservation centers island-wide for exchange of information and resources for such treatment programs.
Healthy baby turtles must ideally be released within 24 hours, as their instinct to seek for the ocean is still fresh. This stage is crucial for their imprinting process as well. They memorize their home during this process to be able to find their way back during the nesting season when time comes. This stage is also critical for those released naturally where predators are ready to stop them on their way to the ocean. Even when they reach the ocean they will still be visible to predators, resulting in very low survival rates. Another obstacle is high temperatures, or when they get stuck in rocks or other obstacles.