Nine leatherback turtles — the largest endangered marine turtle in the world — were hatched along the coast of Ecuador, the Ministry of Environment said Tuesday.
The Dermochelys coriacea — the turtle’s scientific name — eggs were artificially incubated on the Punta Bikini beach, in the Manabi province in the southwest of the country.Rangers in the region had moved their nest after a harsh winter hit the coastal region.
“This new hatching has allowed us to determine that we can achieve a high level of artificial hatching of these turtles, which represents an important stage for Ecuador in the matter of conservation,” veterinarian Daniel Alava, from the Corazon and Fragatas Island Refuge, said in a statement.
In January, 60 of the leatherback turtles, which can measure up to three meters (nine feet) long and weigh up to a ton, were born in the South American country, also in Manabi.
“On the Manabi coast, this is the second time we have carried out an incubation of this species, which has a low reproduction rate of just 50 percent of eggs hatching,” the statement said.
The Dermochelys coriacea species lives in temperate tropical, subtropical and subarctic waters in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans.
It is in critical danger of disappearing in the eastern Pacific.Leatherback turtle nests were also found along the Ecuadorian coast in 2015 and 2017, but the eggs did not hatch.