Sunday, September 18, 2011

Expectant surrogate mommies

Last spring we conducted a nesting survey for these rare turtles. We were able to successfully cover one nest with mesh and rocks to prevent predation. It appears that the predators were able to get to most of the other nests. A little over a month ago we modified the mesh and rocks into basically an upside down brownie pan formation.  That way the hatchlings could dig out of the ground and have a secure area to walk around in.  When it came close to hatching time, we stopped by every other day to see if they had hatched.  One of our visits on a weekend at this park/recreation area my coworker saw someone holding our mesh in their hands and using it to collect crawfish.  He was horrified and reclaimed the mesh and attempted to put it back together.  The person claimed he just found the mesh lying around. Hello liar! Keeo in mind it does take time and effort to remove all the rocks holding it down. Then a large rainstorm came by and the water was dangerous close to drowning the nest. We went back and added some large nails to really secure the mesh to the ground so it was like a fortress.

We got word one morning that there were six hatchlings within the enclosure. So we all scurried up there and numerous phone calls and coordination was all happening at once. We were going to attached radio transmitters to a few of the hatchlings to see where they go. We had 6 hatchlings, one unfertilized egg, and I discovered after we were done excavating the nest that we also had one dead hatchling.  All 6 seemed strong, cute, and perfect.  We fitted a few with radio transmitters and then let them free.

 
One of them sat stunned in the middle for a bit and then crawled into the nearby vegetation. One made a beeline for the water and proceeded to take a ride downstream to an unknown destination. The others (including all the radio tracked ones) headed into the nearby dense vegetation. Now comes time for the daily or every other day radio tracking.  Mind you Hurricane Irene was just forming in the Caribbean......to be continued.

1 comment:

Kris said...

Really interesting blog, I love this post of turtles. I'm a big fan of wildlife and will kee up with this blog!
Kris
http://viewingthroughalens.blogspot.com/