IN PICTURES: Loggerhead turtles hatch on Barcelona beach for the first time

IN PICTURES: Loggerhead turtles hatch on Barcelona beach for the first time
Photos released by CRAM.
Loggerhead sea turtles hatched on Barcelona’s Mar Bella beach over the weekend from what is being hailed by conservationists as the first ever recorded nesting site on one of Barcelona’s city beaches.

A total of 55 turtles hatched on shore between Thursday and Saturday nights: five on Thursday, 40 on Friday, and the last 10 between Saturday night and Sunday morning, according to the Foundation for the Conservation and Recovery of Marine Animals (CRAM). 

The first five turtles to hatch were taken to the CRAM centre to be part of the Headstarting Project, where they will be raised in captivity until they reach an optimal weight for reintroduction into the wild. The other turtles were released directly into the sea. 


 

The nest was first located at Mar Bella beach between July 15th and 16th , shortly after a loggerhead turtle was spotted on the sand nearby.

Sixty of the 77 eggs were reburied farther from the waterline to protect them from flooding, and 17 were taken to the CRAM to be artificially incubated and studied before their release. Five of the CRAM eggs have also hatched, and another 4 are in process. 

Volunteers took round-the-clock shifts to help protect the eggs until they finished hatching on Sunday, when the CRAM staff and experts from the loggerhead turtle protection group Caretta a la Vista dug up the remains of the nest.

They found an additional turtle 20 cm deep who had not been able to reach the surface, as well as 4 unhatched eggs that appeared to be unfertilized or undeveloped. 

The CRAM staff called the hatching a success and a “historical event for the city of Barcelona”.  In total, 4 loggerhead turtle nests were found on the Catalan coast this breeding season. 

The loggerhead turtle, (Caretta caretta) is classified as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.

By Sam Harrison in Barcelona

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