With the oceans warming due to climate change, there has been an increase in the number of Loggerheads (sea turtles) spawning on Spanish beaches.
To protect the young, the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge supports an initiative that keeps them for a year before releasing them safely into the wild.
This summer, six new loggerhead turtle nests were discovered on Spanish beaches. The endangered species has been seen increasingly across Mediterranean Europe. However, the number of females born exceeds that of males. To help protect the species, the young have been kept safe until they are a year old.
Recently, almost 60 turtles were released back into the wild at the beaches where they hatched. The hatchlings, born in Marbella, Tarragona and Ibiza, are mostly equipped with satellite transmitters. These will allow scientists to track the youngsters during the ‘lost years’.
Little known about early years of loggerheads
Currently, scientists know little about the early years in a loggerhead turtle’s life. However, only one in a thousand hatchlings will reach maturity. Pollution is further endangering the species.
The Spanish Mediterranean coastline has not been a frequent nesting ground to date for loggerheads. However, it is believed spawning females return to their nests every year. Thus, the conservation of the species on the Spanish coast is important.
Increasing numbers in Mediterranean
It is not just Spain where loggerhead nesting has expanded in recent years. Nests, with successful hatchings, were reported in Italy, France and North Africa.
Scientists believe the turtle is adapting to changing conditions; their reproductive cycle is also changing.
The journey of these young turtles is now visible on the Sea Turtle platform. Information from their travels will help scientists and conservationists learn more about their behaviour, and therefore promote their conservation.