Critically Endangered Sea Turtle Seen Coming Ashore At ECP, Presumably To Lay Eggs

Marine wildlife enthusiasts, rejoice! A sea turtle was recently spotted crawling up the beach at East Coast Park, presumably to lay eggs.

An eagle-eyed netizen captured the entire thing in a video, which was fast-forwarded due to the turtle’s slow movement (hur-hur).

https://twitter.com/ahteacar/status/1026856287148027905?s=12

But it’s still a breathtaking scene, since it’s not every day that we get to see such a magnificent animal in our highly urbanised city.

Female sea turtles are known to lay eggs during the warmest months of the year. They usually come ashore at night during high tide and can deposit up to 200 eggs at one go.

If you’re keen to catch a glimpse of these turtles, you might want to try your luck at beaches around our island this weekend! More on that later.

Many turtles are born in Singapore

While we can’t ascertain the turtle’s species, it’s highly likely to be a hawksbill turtle.

Listed as a critically endangered species by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, hawksbill turtles have been adversely affected by human activities. In the last century, their numbers have reportedly dwindled by up to 80%.

Bucking this trend, sightings of hawksbill turtles in Singapore have risen in recent years. According to The Straits Times, 18 sightings of the hawksbill turtle were recorded here last year.

That’s almost half the total sightings in the 5 years between 2012 and 2016.

Last year, the National Parks Board (NParks) released footage of hawksbill turtle hatchlings at ECP, heading for sea.

Aren’t they adorable?

This phenomenon was also seen at Tanjong Beach, Sentosa, where over 100 baby turtles were seen scurrying towards the ocean.

Welcoming turtles with open arms

But sometimes, human intervention can actually be useful – and increase the turtles’ chances of survival.

For this reason, a team from the National Biodiversity Centre was trained to use lights to help baby turtles reach the sea.

A member of the team explained that while lights can be used more generously for directing hatchlings towards the sea, it should be used more sparingly for egg-laying turtles .

What to do when you encounter them

If you encounter these turtles, NParks advises you to:

  1. Speak softly
  2. Keep your distance
  3. Refrain from using lights and flash photography
  4. Avoid touching the the turtles
  5. Do not touch the turtles’ eggs

You can also contact the NParks helpline at 1800 471 7300 to report your sighting.

Featured image from NParks’ Facebook.