BANYUWANGI, INDONESIA (AFP) – Newly hatched, dozens of baby turtles flipped and flopped their way down a beach towards the crashing waves of the Indian Ocean, under the watchful gaze of conservationists at an Indonesian national park.
Small enough to fit into the palm of a hand, some ended up on their backs, wriggling their tiny flippers helplessly as they tried to get back on track.
But the conservationists did not interfere, as they wanted the creatures to “map” their surroundings and then return to lay eggs decades later.
“Sea turtles mature at 25-years-old, so if they’re released today, we’ll probably meet them again 25 years from now,” said Ardhini Estu Wardana, a forest ranger at Meru Betiri National Park on the eastern edge of Java. Its beaches are nesting grounds for several species of turtle.