Turtle hatchlings in Brazil are living the good life right now as beaches across the country are empty due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The empty beaches have seen 200 critically endangered hawksbill turtles and 90 green turtles an easy and undisturbed hatching season in Paulista, Brazil according to a statement City Hall of Paulista.
Back on March 14, the first group of hatchlings were welcomed by a large crowd cheering for the marine reptiles as they made their crawl to the sea. Shortly after that, social-distancing mandates were implemented and the next group of sea turtles made their way to the sea with only a few researchers from the Urban Sustainability Center.
While the sea turtle nests are always marked out to be protected, there is always a possibility of human interference to the nest if the beach is busy. The importance of a healthy hatching is pivotal to the start of rebuilding the critically endangered species total numbers.
In an announcement on the city halls website, environmental manager Herbert Andrade explained, “In all, 291 sea turtles were born on the coast of Paulista in 2020, with 87 green turtles and 204 hawksbill turtles. This time, due to preventive measures against the new coronavirus, the population was unable to closely monitor the birth.”
Even better, according to authorities, they are waiting on more nests to hatch in April.
Hawksbills are named for their narrow, pointed beak. They also have a distinctive pattern of overlapping scales on their shells that form a serrated-look on the edges. These colored and patterned shells make them highly-valuable and commonly sold as “tortoiseshell” in markets.
Hawksbills are found mainly throughout the world’s tropical oceans, predominantly in coral reefs. They feed mainly on sponges by using their narrow pointed beaks to extract them from crevices on the reef, but also eat sea anemones and jellyfish.
Sea turtles are the living representatives of a group of reptiles that has existed on Earth and travelled our seas for the last 100 million years. They are a fundamental link in marine ecosystems and help maintain the health of coral reefs and sea grass beds.