April 21, 2021

97 Endangered Sea Turtles Hatch on Brazil’s Deserted Beaches During Covid-19 Lockdown

There are 7 species of sea turtle and, according to the World Wildlife Federation, almost all of them are endangered, but critically 3 are considered critically endangered. Their primary threats are various forms of exploitation, like being hunted for their meat, skin, and shells, as well as the poaching of their eggs.

Last Sunday, in Paulista a town in the north-eastern state of Pernambuco, have hatched 97 hawksbill sea turtles. But only government workers were the only people to see the sea turtles emerge. They took photographs of the new-born creatures taking their first steps down to the beach and into the Atlantic Ocean.

Pernambuco, which has a population of nine million, has recorded five Covid-19 deaths and more than 60 cases of the virus. Paulo Câmara, the state governor, said he hoped the coronavirus restrictions could eventually be relaxed in his state – but added that they are necessary at the moment.

Hawksbill sea turtle hatchlings are only about five centimetres (two inches) long, but they can grow to be up to 0.8 metres (2.5 feet) long if they survive the treacherous first few years of their lives. The endangered species lives in tropical waters around the globe and ranges from the coasts of Texas and South Florida down to Brazil, according to the U.S. National Wildlife Foundation.

This year, in Paulista, more than 300 sea turtles have hatched. Roberto Couto, the town’s environmental secretary, said that sea turtles normally lay their eggs from January each year, and the hatchlings emerge in April or May. Also, he added: “It’s really beautiful because you can see the exact instant they come out of their eggs and… watch their little march across the beach. It’s marvelous. It’s a wonderful, extraordinary feeling.”

A wildlife official holds a hawksbill sea turtle hatchling on Janga Beach in Paulista, Brazil, on March 22, 2020. Paulista City Hall

Hawksbill sea turtle hatchlings crawl toward the surf on Janga Beach in Paulista, Brazil, on March 22, 2020. Paulista City Hall

A hawksbill sea turtle hatchling crawls toward the ocean on Janga Beach in Paulista, Brazil, on March 22, 2020. Paulista City Hall

Newly-hatched Olive Ridley turtles make their way to the ocean at Rushikulya beach in Ganjam district, 150 kilometres south of the eastern Indian city of Bhubaneswar, on April 8, 2017.
Millions of baby Olive Ridley turtles are hatching and entering the Bay of Bengal, one of the mass nesting sites in the Indian coastal state of Orissa. / AFP PHOTO / ASIT KUMAR (Photo credit should read ASIT KUMAR/AFP via Getty Images)