Arriving Con Dao to watch turtles lay their eggs

Monday - 27/05/2019 12:17
Con Dao is currently the place with the best marine turtle conservation and is home of the largest number of sea turtles in Vietnam. Visitors will have the opportunity to see turtles lay their eggs around April to October every year.

In Con Dao, there are many places where sea turtles lay their eggs such as Cau Islet, Tre Lon Islet, Tai Islet ... but the place with the largest number of them is Bay Canh islet.

Mangrove swamp on Bay Canh islet

Hon Bay Canh is known as "Con Dao Island's most ecological tourism". Separated from the eventful world outside, this islet is pristine, with blue sea and colorful coral. This is also the largest marine turtle conservation in Vietnam.

A turtle is digging a nest for its eggs

Bay Canh islet belongs to the conservation  area of Con Dao National Park so to be accessed here, visitors must obtain a permit at the National Park on Con Son Island. After obtaining the permit, you can charter a boat to go to Bay Canh, or simply buy a local tour, they will take care of all the permits you need.

Turtle eggs

Bay Canh islet is also a large mangrove forest reserve of Con Dao with wild chickens, ebony squirrels, colorful butterflies ... and 24 species of mangrove plants, mainly mangroves, Bruguiera gymnorrhiza, Aegiceras corniculatum ...

Drop turtles to the sea.

Sea turtles' reproductive season is around April to October, but the peak is July to September. You can only stop at the island for 4-6 hours or stay overnight (only stay one night on Bay Canh Islet) to see turtles laying their eggs under the guidance of forest rangers. Depending on the water, the time of laying eggs of turtles range from 10h - 12pm.

When finding that turtles is being on the sand-bank to lay their eggs, forest guards will guide visitors to follow detour, keep order, not make noise to frighten turtles.

Turtles will select a fine sand area near arbours and use their forelegs to dig their nest. Then they use hindlegs to dig a 50-60 cm deep hole, about 20 cm wide and begin to lay the eggs. In the light of flashlight, visitors will see every single round and white egg as the ping-pong fell to the hole. After filling the nests, sea turtles continued to use their forelegs to fill their nest with 5-6 m long to remove the traces and camouflage their eggs.

A turle delivers an average of about 80 eggs, but some of them can give more than 200 eggs in Con Dao. Waiting for turtle to leave the nest, visitors will see forest guards take a step in the preservation of sea turtles is incubating. After taking eggs to incubation area, these eggs are incubated within 6 hours. A half of the eggs will be put in a tank with plenty of light, while the other half will be placed in a pond covered with a sun-screen above. This is to balance the "sex" of baby turtkes, because sea turtles can adjust males - females by the action of light and temperature during incubation time. About 45-60 days after incubation, eggs will hatch into baby turtles.

If coming in appropriate time, visitors will be able to see the baby turtles hatched from the previous incubator. Forest rangers put the turtles in their baskets and brought them down to the sand when the water was high and the sun was not up. Visitors will see hundreds of turtles crawl into the sea, reaching maturity (about 30 years later), the turtles will return to the birth place to lay their eggs.

With a survival rate of 1/1000, sea turtles are listed in the Red Book of Vietnam as well as around the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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