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Hawksbill turtles laying eggs on Qeshm's beaches

Tehran, March 15, IRNA -Hawksbill turtles, belonging to the Eretmochelys imbricate species, have started laying eggs on southern beaches of the Persian Gulf island of Qeshm.

Each year, with the start of the spring season, the endangered marine turtles migrate to safe beaches of Shibderaz village to make nests and lay eggs.

The egg-laying period each year of the giant turtles on these beaches lasts until July.

The director for ecotourism of Qeshm Free Trade Zone Organization, Bijan Darrehshouri, said that in late winter or early spring the turtles come out of the sea at night and dig nest holes a couple of meters deep where they lay over 100 white round leathery eggs.

"It takes each turtle 30 minutes to lay eggs," he said as quoted by Iran Daily.

Qeshm Island

The official said that over 70,000 eggs have been collected in the past five years by Shibderaz Islamic Village Council and the UN Global Environment Facility with the aim of giving them better chances of hatching.

Thanks to the initiative, more than 30,000 turtles were hatched from the 70,000 eggs and released in the direction of the Persian Gulf, the expert added.

Darreshouri promised that the organization would continue its serious efforts this year as in the past to preserve these turtle eggs until they are hatched.

The official moreover said that three turtles have made nests on the beaches and have laid 300 eggs.

He said that special tags have been imported from the US for use on these endangered species in order to identify them when they arrive in the beaches.

The tags, bearing the words "Iran-Qeshm Free Trade Zone Organization," are placed on the turtles' front right flipper to facilitate studies that are currently undertaken on them, the official noted.

The Persian Gulf and Oman Sea coasts provide refuge to hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricate) and green turtles (Chelonia mydas), both listed as endangered species by the IUCN, the world organization for conservation of endangered species.

Each year in May and June, hawksbill turtles migrate to regional islands to make nests and lay eggs.

The Persian Gulf and Oman Sea are important habitats of sea turtles, including the hawksbill, green, olive ridley, loggerhead and leatherback species.

IUCN has listed six of the seven above-mentioned turtles as species facing extinction, with three classified as "critically endangered."

... Payvand News - 3/15/07 ... --

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