A new post is long overdue, and I’m lucky to have stumbled onto some good news for a change.
The Yomiuri Shimbun More sea turtles have been coming ashore in Japan to lay eggs in recent years, according to a survey finding by the Environment Ministry. Loggerhead musk turtles, one of the species seen in the nation, were spotted laying eggs on 9,661 occasions in fiscal 2012, compared with less than 2,000 in 2006.
The findings were based on data collected by local volunteers, who surveyed the egg-laying habits of sea turtles at 41 sandy beaches, including those in Chichijima island in a remote part of Tokyo, in Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture, and on Iriomote Island in Okinawa Prefecture.
“Sea turtles who were born after the nation’s sand beaches were markedly rejuvenated in the 1970s or later across the country may have returned to the beaches upon maturing,” said an official at the ministry.
The sea turtles that lay eggs on sandy beaches in Japan are mainly green turtles, loggerhead musk turtles and hawksbill sea turtles, all of which are registered on the ministry’s red list of endangered species.
Of them, loggerhead musk turtles, which can be seen on beaches ranging from Ibaraki Prefecture to Okinawa Prefecture, were seen to have laid their eggs on 3,562 occasions in fiscal 2004. There were only 1,919 such occasions in fiscal 2006. In the following years, however, the number started rising to reach 9,661 in fiscal 2012.
Green turtles, which are often spotted on beaches in the Ogasawara islands, were recorded to have laid their eggs on 265 occasions in fiscal 2012, up from around 100 times a year up until fiscal 2009.
Meanwhile, hawksbill sea turtles, which were spotted laying eggs no more than four times a year — and sometimes not at all — until fiscal 2009, laid their eggs nine times in fiscal 2011.
Sea turtles are said to become mature at ages ranging from 30 to 40, laying eggs once every two to four years.
Sandy beaches in Japan have been steadily renewed since the 1970s thanks to relocating wave-dissipating tetrapods closer to land and introducing sand, according to the ministry.
The latest survey results also showed that since fiscal 2008, the predation of eggs by such animals as wild boars and raccoon dogs was reported on many occasions. On Iriomote Island, as many as 60 percent of the egg-laying spots were attacked by predators in one year.
The ministry will also expedite its efforts to implement countermeasures such as setting up protective fences.
I’m hoping that the up-beat mood of the article is justified and not just another feel-good piece of journalism. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
Good luck, turtles.