Pakistani wildlife team takes care of baby green turtles

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The COVID-19 pandemic has led to empty coastal areas around the world. Animals like sea turtles took the opportunity to reclaim the less polluted and quieter areas beaches lay their eggs during the reproduction season. The main breeding season for sea turtles is from September to November.

Workers from the Sindh Wildlife group in Pakistan recently observed a female turtle crossing Karachi beach late at night. She was looking for a place to lay her eggs. She buried a hundred or more eggs in the sand before returning to the Arabian Sea.

Sindh Wildlife counted 15,000 green turtles on Karachi beaches last year. By comparison, the group numbered between 8,000 and 8,500 in 2019. The closures related to the pandemic ended at the start of this year’s breeding season. But animal experts are still waiting for a visit from large numbers of endangered animals.

Green turtles are among the largest sea turtles in the world. Adults can weigh over 90 kilograms. They lay their eggs in over 80 countries around the world and can be found in over 140 countries. They live in tropical and subtropical coastal areas. The Sea Turtle Conservation Group Protection says there are 85,000 to 90,000 nesting women in the world.

Baby turtles gather in a basket before being released into the sea in Karachi, Pakistan on November 17, 2021. Photo taken on November 17, 2021. REUTERS / Waseem Sattar

The weather in Karachi is suitable for egg laying until January. Wildlife officials plan to continue searching for the animals until then.

Ashfaq Ali Memon heads the Sea Turtle Unit at Sindh Wildlife. He said the females have laid around 6,000 eggs so far this season.

As soon as the mother turtle leaves, the workers rush to dig up the eggs. They move them to a hole one meter deep in a hatchery until the babies hatch from the eggs, about 40 to 45 days later.

The new turtles are immediately taken to the beach and released into the sea.

The Sindh Turtle Unit has released 860,000 baby turtles in the Arabian Sea since it started operating in 1970. Memon said 900 have been released so far this season.

Environmentalists say that in the past, populations of sea turtles were threatened by demand for their fat, meat and eggs. In recent years, the loss of habitat pollution and land reclamation also threatened the animals.

I am Ashley Thompson.

Reuters news agency reported this story. Ashley Thompson adapted it for VOA Learning English. Susan Shand was the editor.

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Words in this story

raise – v. produce young animals, birds, etc. : produce offspring by sexual reproduction

habitat – n the place or type of place where a plant or animal lives or grows naturally or normally

Beach – nm an area covered with sand or small rocks which is next to an ocean or a lake

hatchery – n a place where people raise young chickens, fish, etc., from eggs

protection – nm an organization that works to protect animals, plants and natural resources, especially by purchasing and caring for land

nest – v. build or live in a nest (nest – nm the place where a bird lays its eggs and takes care of its young)

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