Sea turtles nesting in Singapore

Date July 28, 2013

Last weekend, David Tan, a volunteer with the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity sighted something extraordinary along our shores – a sea turtle preparing its nest along East Coast Beach! This was indeed a very unique and special experience that very few people in the world get to witness. And it’s mind-blowing to consider that a large sea turtle, who has to come up to the water surface to breathe, has managed to successfully navigate our dangerous and busy water ways to come upon our shores and attempt to nest! (Above photo by David Tan)

This is not the first time sea turtles have been recorded to be nesting on Singapore shores. There have been other incidences of sea turtles nesting at East Coast Park.

Adult sea turtles are also occasionally spotted by divers at Pulau Hantu.

Sea turtles take about two decades to reach maturity. During the nesting season, a single female may return to shore to nest 4-6 times. Especially for sea turtles heading to Singapore shores, this presents a very huge risk, as Singapore is one of the busiest ports in the world! Mother sea turtles return to the shores from where they were born to build their nests, this means the sea turtles are in fact coming home!

You can help give our sea turtles a fighting chance at survival bylearning more about sea turtle nesting behaviour. Share this information with your friends so more people know about it!

Knowledge is absolutely important for the protection of our sea turtles. That, and pro-activeness! According to this article posted in the Shin Min Daily on 27 July, 2013: A Chinese national lady was carrying a bag containing 118 turtle eggs, which the lady claims she got from East Coast Beach. It was through the curiosity of the staff at the 24-hour Yong He Eating House that 17 of these eggs were given to them, which led to their boss flagging the situation to NParks. The article mentioned that it is possible the that lady was distributing the eggs as she was going to return to her country. It is unsure whether the saved turtle eggs will still develop into turtle hatchlings. Thanks to Chay Hoon for giving the headsup about this article!

Here’s a video of a sea turtle at Pulau Hantu that was reported to have a tag on it. Sea turtles tagged with satellite transmitters during their nesting in Malaysia have been recorded to return to Singapore as their feeding ground, before heading back to Malaysian beaches. Our sea turtles migrate great distances and know no national boundaries, so efforts to safe guard sea turtles truly requires a concerted effort between the people of many nations!

Let’s do the little bit that we can in Singapore and let people know that our beaches are not just for us, but for the future generation of these critically endangered animals. Our beaches are not just for recreation, but a habitat for these beautiful and inspiring creatures!

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