|Brief reminder of Part 1 (without mistake ) :
It ' s always fascinating to watch the grace of a sea turtle in its natural habitat. However, they are threatened by man for their meat, eggs, skin, fat and shells, causing a drastic decline in populations. Research is underway, in particular with the ' Marine Reseach Foundation ' , to limit black markets
. However, there are turtle protection centres, including the ' Turtle Hatchery in Kosgoda, Sri Lanka ' , which is a small-scale centre but has the merite of existing. The first thing you ' ll see is the hatchery, where guards collect the eggs laid on the beach at night and place them in ' hatcheries ' acording to the laying dates, to monitor the births.
The eggs are kept in complete safety, buried in the sand until they hatch. The baby turtles are then released back into the sea under the watchfull eye of predators such as birds and crabs, to incraese their chances of survival.
In this centre, we also find turtles that are injured or tied up with ropes or fishing tackle, with damaged flippers or needing emergency first aid before being transfered back to their natural environment. Others are placed in tanks because they are disabled; blind, with flippers or legs cut off, because they would be unable to survive in the wild.
It ' s impossible not to mention the nesting season, which remains a moment of fascination and intense emotion for observers. At night, the turtles emerge from the sea. Huge leatherback turtles, weighting up to 900 kg and measuring 3 metres in length, haul themselves out onto dry land, first building their nests using their hind legs, then laying 80 to 100 eggs before carefuly camouflaging the hatchlings in the sand and slowly returning to the sea. This number compensates for the high mortality rate that prevents most turtles from reaching maturity.
They return to the beach several time during the season. Leatherback turtles make around ten visits and other groups five. Around two months later, the baby turtles make their way out of the sand and head for the sea.
Turtles are extraordinary creature, renowned for their longevitea (50 to 150 years ). However, their numbers are dwindling as the beaches where they lay their eggs are increasingly degraded by rising sea levels, erosion, climate change and the destruction of eggs.
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