The planet is our home; we need to be more responsible. Here's what I do.
The leatherback turtle is a spectacularly impressive creature on many levels. The species is isolated from other sea turtles by the nature of the shell.
Other species have a more desperate shell sitting on its back but the leatherback as it’s name suggests has a leathery covering with seven parallel ridges that is part of the creatures body.
The spine in particular is integrated into the back.
This tiny hatchling is busy with her first day’s work. Recent changes to temperature has affected gender balance on Playa grande beach. Turtle species sex is defined by the temperature of the nest. So the majority of these hatchlings are female.
After tunnelling to the surface with her sisters, she heads for the water. Assuming she can tell which way to go. Until recently the ocean was lighter than the land at night. Dense foliage behind the beach would be dull in comparison to the gleaming water.
Now there is often man made light on or near the sand that can cause distraction.
As she sets off, her tiny flippers thrashing she may meet her first predator, a small crab waiting in a hole en route. In a flash the claws may grab we throat and soft under body.
Avoiding the crab hole she may still yet encounter other visual predators who include dogs, vultures and raccoons.
If she reaches the water then the swimming lunch seekers join the challenge.
The beautiful deep beach is a long journey and the shallows inshore are still treacherous.
After this who knows where she goes. There is very little knowledge of her secret years. There are tagging projects for adult female turtles but less than one percent are thought to return to the beach so the cost of tagging the other 99 hatchlings is too high to see what they do.
This is one of a series of posts connected to our December turtle conservation trip.
a blog by a multilingual expat-since-birth, linguist, researcher, mum of three, living in the Netherlands and writing about bilingualism, multiculturalism, parenting abroad, international life...