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Turtles breeding like rabbits

/ 05:15 AM January 28, 2012

MANILA, Philippines—They are breeding like rabbits.

The turtles of a Tawi-Tawi island laid more than one million green turtle eggs in 2011, a record-breaking nesting since conservation efforts in the province started in 1984, the Conservation International (CI) said.

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A total of 14,220  green turtle nests  were recorded in Baguan, Turtle Islands in 2011, breaking the previous record set 28 years ago of 12,311 nests. The 2011 figures translate to some 2,844 nesting green turtles and more than 1.44 million turtle eggs laid.

“1.44 million green turtle eggs in one year is an astounding number for a nesting beach that’s only a little over one kilometer in length. This definitely presents great hope for boosting green turtle populations,” said Romeo Trono, CI Philippines country executive director.

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“With an average of 90 percent hatching success and 1 percent survival rate up to sexual maturity, Baguan in 2011 alone could contribute up to 13,000 to the adult turtle population.”

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, green turtles are classified as endangered species.

The new data on turtle breeding give conservationists hope. During the past years, the population of green turtles in the islands has declined as poachers hunted them down for their shells and local residents caught them for food.

Figures from the Department of Environment of Natural Resources showed that since the previous high of 12,311 turtle nests recorded in 1995, the number of Baguan’s nests has been declining and dropped to as low as just over 4,000 nests in 2003.

“The increasing nest numbers show that when turtles are protected on their nesting beaches and in the water for long enough, they will recover,” said Dr. Bryan Wallace Director of Science for the Marine Flagship Species Program at CI.

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TAGS: endangered spicies, Green Turtles, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Tawi-Tawi island, Turtle islands
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