NParks Spotlight: Let’s Talk About Turtles!

I first heard of the Turtle Hatchery not in this spotlight actually, but when I was working with NParks and volunteered to help count and release the hatchlings into the wild. It was because of that experience that led me to immediately click that button and sign up for this talk. Held by Koh Kwan Siong (Senior Manager, Biodiversity), this talk comprises of the the sea turtle species here in Singapore, their life cycle, and their reproduction.

I’ve always been interested in marine life, and turtles hold a special position of being such endearing, gentle creatures of the sea. I did not know we have 4 species of turtles (loggerhead, green, hawksbill and flatback turtle) and I wasn’t even aware they ate different food. Another thing I’ve learnt is that the temperature of the nest will affect how many male and female hatchlings will be born. I found out one way to remember it is “Girls are hot, boys are cool!” and it has stuck with me since. I was however, upset to find out one of the threats posed to turtles is in fact touching the eggs and turning them over, and not allowing the egg yolk to set on the top of the egg, hence not allowing the hatchling to properly develop and increasing the chances of it not surviving to hatch. Having all this knowledge, I hope to spread it to my family and friends so that we can all play our part in conserving Singapore’s marine biodiversity.

One insight I’ve gained from this talk is the fact that NParks has more than just a turtle hatchery to help look after turtle hatchlings. They also conduct beach surveys with volunteers to help scope out for nesting mothers, and EVEN have a NParks helpline in the event one of the members of the public comes across a nesting mother or a brood of hatchlings trying to get to the sea. Hence, I would like to participate in these surveys in the future!

Because the turtle hatcheries are situated in the ‘Big Sister’ of the Sisters Islands, I would like to go there on a trip with my friends just to explore the area and take a look at the hatcheries and inform more people of how Singapore is conserving our turtles, many of which are already endangered. Overall, I’ve gained much insight and optimism from this talk, and I would love to volunteer and take part of marine life activities once more!

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