Literally hours after many localities, Mgarr included, experienced a downpour, the first signs of life from the turtle nest in Gnejna Bay started emerging. The first hatchling emerged from the nest at 21:15 last night followed by another 97 siblings, and then another 2 late-comers some hours later.
98, plus 2, tiny defenceless baby turles all climbing out of a small hole in the sand to make their arduous journey to the shoreline must have been a sight to behold. The only expression that seems fitting is “a river of life”. As if the wait during incubation wasn’t enough of a challenge now these critters face more challenges from the moment they hatch.
The journey from nest to see is the first challenge that tests the tiny hatchlings. The small hills and dips in the sand help them develop the muscle tone they need to make it in the water; one of many valid reasons why it is a hands-off approach to help them get there. From then on it is a lifetime of battles. They will probably be still gaining some experience swimming before they venture out of the bay hopefully before they are shredded by propellers from the boats floating in the bay and hopefully a few of them will make it long enough to come back in a few years to lay their own eggs. So it is only logical that we should do everything we can to make it easier.
Plastic found in just one turtle: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/the-plastic-found-in-a-single-turtles-stomach-2251230.html
If there ever was a time to talk about plastic waste littering the environment this is it. Anyone who thinks it is a small problem might want to ponder on the fact that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is twice the size of Texas. The later we leave it to do something tangible about this, the more plastic is breaking down into tiny bite size chunks.
The leather-back turtle landed in Cirkewwa last week died of pneumonia which was aggravated by the plastic that weakened her immune system. We cannot and probably should not do anything about their natural predators but there is lots we can do about plastic waste. It doesn’t take a PhD to understand why plastic litter in any environment is harmful but while the man in the street seems to understand this, the news has yet to be reach those who should know better.
See that story here: http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2018-08-21/local-news/Plastic-in-Marsascala-bay-after-Summer-carnival-causes-concern-6736195161
The very fact that “everyone else is doing it” is somehow Marsaskala’s Mayor’s idea of justification is beyond sad. It is infuriating. While hundreds of volunteers work hard to save the environment, (animals, the planet, etc.) a supposed leader comes along and says it is OK to literally dump garbage on that same hard work. In the same locality where the water is chronically plagued with plastic waste and complaints about it no less. So is the problem insurmountable, or is there no will to solve it? I will let you decide the answer to that.
For now we lay our anger to rest so we can celebrate this successful turtle nest hatching and offer our most sincere appreciation to all the volunteers who made it possible. You truly are the backbone of this community and the world is a better place with you in it. Keep up the good work because the world does not stand a chance without people like you. Get some well deserved sleep because we need you fresh and ready for more.