Five baby green turtles hatched in park go on show ahead of release

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 March, 2009, 12:00am

Offspring of an endangered green turtle with a penchant for laying eggs during typhoons are on display ahead of their planned release into the ocean in the summer.

They are among a batch of 22 baby turtles - from 800 born to an adult female known as 'Hong Kong 2' last year - that were held back because by the time they arrived the weather was too cool for them to take to the sea.

Their mother laid 800 eggs on Sham Wan Beach on Lamma Island in seven batches between July and October. Half were left to hatch naturally, while the others were hatched by the Agricultural, Fisheries and Conservation Department, which achieved a 99 per cent hatching rate.

Most of the babies found their way to the ocean by themselves or with the help of the department but the remaining 22, the last to hatch, have been kept at the Hong Kong Wetland Park to await warmer weather.

Five are meeting the public in an exhibition at the park named 'Treasure of the Ocean - Green Turtle', which opened yesterday and will run until July 31.

Guided interpretations and public lectures are being given.

Meanwhile, the adult turtle, equipped with metal flipper tags and a satellite transmitter, has been tracked along the coast of Guangdong and into Vietnamese waters.

Measurements of the turtle, last seen on the beach in 2003, showed that its carapace length had grown from 91cm to 98cm in five years.

Wetland and fauna conservation officer Cheung Ka-shing said both visits by the turtle had coincided with a time when typhoons hit Hong Kong. He said this could be a coincidence or the turtle might feel safer coming to shore during storms.

'Hong Kong 2' left Hong Kong waters in October.