Update on the turtle hatchery Temboan

An update on the turtle hatchery Temboan

One of the reasons to develop the Turtle hatchery Temboan and the integrated land/sea restoration program is that the beaches over a stretch of more than 3 kilometres of coastline have no human occupation and thus have no artificial light during the night interfering with the nesting of sea turtles. By acquiring this long stretch of land along the coast we hope to provide safe beaches for five species of sea turtles to nest and lay their eggs.In nature, the number of nests and eggs making it to hatching and consequently the hatchling turtles safely reaching the sea can be very low due to natural predation (e.g. monitor lizards, birds of prey, crabs) or human causes (dogs digging up nests, poachers). Hatcheries can be an important tool to improve the survival chances of the many species threatened with extinction. This is why Masarang proposed to build a sea turtle hatchery for which we received sponsoring.

The Temboan area is home to beaches used by five of the seven sea turtle species worldwide and may be the only site where so many different species lay eggs almost year-round. Our Tulap sea turtle project has released hundreds of thousands of hatchlings already and we have experienced trackers that do nightly patrols and a very high percentage of hatchlings that make it to the water from the relocated nests to protect them from natural and human interference.

Progress at the turtle hatchery per 10-7-2021

Masarang acquired the support of the conservation expert Simon Purser who prepared the attached report on sea turtle hatcheries and who was asked to come to North Sulawesi to do the field survey to determine the best location and design for the Temboan sea turtle hatchery. Here we present the update from early July 2021.

  • From the various potential designs, we decided to use the PVC pipe design which does not interfere with the orientation needs of hatchlings as can be caused by the use of iron poles and concrete foundations
  • It was decided that the best location for the hatchery was as indicated on the map as shown beneath
  • It was necessary to add an additional layer of a little over a foot of sand to stay above the seepage water from the lake behind the beach
  • The sand at the 8 x 12-meter location (suitable for up to 100 nests per two months) was worked through to remove roots and rocks and was sieved to make every spot optimally suited for the nests
  • An agreement was made with the village head of the nearby Rumbia village to construct the actual hatchery using only local people so as to create awareness and future support to protect the turtles
  • A foundation of wood was placed to a depth of 60 cm to keep digging monitor lizards and crabs out of the nesting area
  • We started training two local people from the Temboan and Rumbia villages respectively to locate turtle nests along the beaches and to collect and then place the turtle eggs in the upcoming hatchery
  • We brought in by boat from the nearby Rumbia village the material for the foundation and PVC construction and started building the hatchery
  • Unfortunately, we experienced a heavy storm for two days that slowed down the work and we have to fix part of the earlier work because the interconnecting beams had not yet been mounted. In addition, the vaccination campaign for Covid by the government also made that the team working on the construction missed several days
  • The picture at the end of this update shows the present condition of the hatchery. The work will resume on Monday, July 12th, 2021.
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