In a victory for turtle conservation efforts, about 421 baby turtles were released to the sea on Chàm Island yesterday.
Their release continues the success of the first project in Việt Nam to release baby turtles far from the site where their eggs were laid—a practice known as ex-situ conservation – in order to repopulate turtle populations in areas where they have declined.
The turtles came from a batch of 450 eggs that were laid by turtles in five nests on Côn Đảo Island 50 days ago.
According to Lê Xuân Ái, a researcher on the Chàm Island’s Marine Protected Area (MPA) management board, 421 baby turtles out of 450 eggs hatched in sand nests on the island’s beaches, about 20km off the coast of Hội An. Furthermore, 450 eggs from Côn Đảo Island to the Chàm Island by cars, airplanes and train previously.
Several beaches in central coastal Việt Nam, including Thừa Thiên-Huế, Đà Nẵng, Quảng Nam and Quảng Ngãi are favourite destinations for turtle reproduction. But rapid urban development, the speedy construction of beach resorts and hotels, the overexploitation of seafood and extensive pollution had destroyed their habitats. Ex-situ conservation could help rebuild turtle populations in the future.
Another batch of 450 eggs were also moved from Côn Đảo Island in the southern province of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu to the Chàm Island for a new hatching phase yesterday. A final report on the first turtle egg hatching will be announced in October.
The Chàm Islands are home to 1,500ha of tropical forests and 6,700 ha of sea. The area is home to a wide range of marine fauna and flora, including many endangered species such as swallows, the long-tailed monkey and the crab-eating macaque.