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130 Turtles hatch from nest at Torii Beach

By: Spc. J. Myles Kendrick

Date Posted: 2001-08-16

One hundred thirty sea turtles made their way to the surface of their nest and into the waiting hands of the staff of Torii Beach. Staff members rounded them up and placed them in three large aquariums overnight and boated them out past the 1/2-mile reef to increase the survivability rate.

"We wanted to get the advice from a marine biologist from Expo Park while we kept the hatchlings in the aquariums," said Mike Collins, Chief, Sports and Recreation. "The reef on Torii extends a half-mile out. The turtles could become trapped in the coral, they're more susceptible to predators and there is very little food… the advice from the marine biologist from Expo Park was to release them in the deeper water for a better survivability factor."

The sea turtles were deposited in their nest on June 21 before the sea turtle departed back to the East China Sea.

"One hundred thirty turtles hatched from one hundred thirty eggs," Collins said. "The turtle nest on Torii Beach exceeded the larger nests this year at Itoman and Shioya. Releasing the turtles on the outer reef will also greatly increase their normal fifty percent survival rate."

Nao Kochi, manager, Torii Beach, witnessed the entire life cycle. He witnessed the turtle building its nest, helped it build the nest and helped the turtle back to sea. He helped moved the eggs to a protected area under a lifeguard tower in a locked enclosure and kept a watchful eye for predators and overly curious people.

"Myself and four other people witnessed the egg laying," Kochi said. Kochi was the first person to see the turtle and quickly called lifeguards and the chief of MWR sports and recreation. "I was walking along Torii Beach and I saw what looked like an oddly placed stone. It didn't take long to realize it was a turtle. I was surprised. This was the first time I've seen anything like this at Torii Beach."

This was the first time a sea turtle has nested on Torii Beach.

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