Baby turtles move toward the ocean from their nests on a beach at the Cham Islands. As many as 250 turtle eggs were moved from southern Con Dao Island to the Cham Islands as part of a sea turtle conservation programme.(Photo: VNA)

Quang Nam (VNS/VNA)
- Baby turtles (Cheloniidae) hatched from eggs that had been moved to a beach in the Cham Islands' Marine Protected Area (MPA) were released into the ocean last weekend by the MPA's management board.

Two weeks ago, as many as 250 eggs were moved to the Cham Islands from Con Dao Island National Park, located in southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau province 1,000 kilometres away. 

Nguyen Van Vu, MPA's vice director, said the turtle eggs had been laid by mothers in nests at the Con Dao park 40 days before they were moved to the Cham Islands. 

The eggs were placed in artificial nests on pristine beaches, and after 16 days in strict protection and warm sand, more than 90 percent of the eggs hatched successfully.

As part of a turtle conservation programme for the 2017-19 period, another batch of 250 turtle eggs, the last of this year, will be delivered to the Cham Islands this summer, Vu said.

According to MPA, more than 1,600 turtle eggs have been moved to the Cham Islands since 2017 for hatching. Of these, 1,200 baby turtles have been released to the sea.

The green sea turtle species is listed as one of five endangered ones in Vietnam’s Red Book.

Turtle researcher Le Xuan Ai from MPA said that only one out of 1,000 baby turtles can survive after growing from hatched eggs.

Baby turtles often return to the beach where they were born to lay eggs when they reach maturity, according to Ai.

Authorities are planning to build a turtle conservation area on an area of 40sq.km of beach and water on Bac beach in the Cham Islands.

Since 2017, at least 20 turtles have been captured by fishing nets in waters off the Islands, but only nine were healthy enough to return to their natural habitat. Some turtles died because they were trapped in nets for a long period.

A World Biosphere Reserve, the Cham Islands banned plastic bag usage among local residents and tourists in 2011. It was the first site in Vietnam to do so.

The islands, with a population of 3,000, are a popular site for ecotours. They are located near the UNESCO-recognised Hoi An ancient town.-VNS/VNA