Ecuador: birth of nine leatherback turtles, endangered

Nine specimens of the leatherback turtle, the world’s largest and endangered species of sea turtle, were born on the Ecuadorian coast, Ecuador’s environment ministry said on Tuesday.

The eggs of Dermochelys coriacea, according to its scientific name, were artificially incubated on a beach called Punta Bikini, in the southwestern province of Manabi.

The nest had been relocated by regional forest guards, due to the harsh winter that hit the Ecuadorian coast.

“This new outbreak has enabled us to determine that we can achieve a high rate of artificial hatching from these turtles, which represents an important conservation milestone for Ecuador,” said veterinarian Daniel Alava, of Refugio de la Isla Corazon y Fragatas, according to a press release from the ministry.

In January, another 60 leatherback turtles, which can grow up to three meters in length and weigh up to a ton, were born in this South American country, also in the province of Manabi.

“On the coast of Manabi, this is the second time that an outbreak has been carried out for the species, which has a low reproduction rate with only 50% of the eggs hatching,” the statement said.

The species Dermochelys coriacea lives in the temperate tropical, subtropical and subarctic waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.

It is critically endangered in the eastern Pacific.

In 2015 and 2017, leatherback turtle nests were also found on the Ecuadorian coast, but the eggs had not hatched.

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