On North Island, Watch but do not Touch is our motto.
However, sometimes we have to intervene to avoid disaster. This is the case for all carefully monitored green and hawksbill turtle nests, which quite often stand the risk of being washed away by excessive tidal flows and seasonal beach erosion.
As we try and record the date when each clutch of eggs were laid on our beaches, nest number 92 had just passed the 49-day mark, which meant we had to check on the nest's progress. Upon inspection, the eggs had not hatched and the nest risked being washed away, so we dug the eggs out and placed them into a polystyrene box and brought them back to the environmental office. When the eggs are in the polystyrene box, they don’t require incubation and the box is generally the same dimensions as a natural nest. A lot of effort is put into replicating the natural nesting conditions – giving the eggs the best possible chance of hatching. Once the eggs were in the box, we covered them with beach sand and hoped for the best.
Turtles lay an average of 150 to 200 eggs per clutch, thus when moving the nest we expected that number, but strangely enough only 94 eggs were discovered, of which two where already infertile (no babies growing inside). Therefore, there were 92 ping-pong-sized round eggs with leathery shells from nest number 92, which is quite interesting...
We were incredibly happy when we found 92 little turtles inside the box one morning! The hatchlings were driven by the instinct to head to the water, so we did not delay this any further and took them down to the sea, where they were released into the deep blue... the rest now is up to them.
The North Island Team