Turtle eggs excavated
The turtle eggs in Gnejna were excavated today after initial investigations showed they died.
The eggs were excavated by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority in collaboration with Nature Trust and the security section of the Resources Ministry.
Mepa said in a statement that initial investigations show that the embryos died at a late stage of development, probably because of limited intake of air resulting from a number of natural factors.
The investigation indicated that the layer of water-retaining blue clay underneath the sand became water-logged as a result of water from underneath the nest. The eggs in the bottom layer became imbued with water resulting in the asphyxiation of the embryos developing inside it. Moreover, the nesting chamber was deprived of air as a consequence of this accumulated high humidity and related water saturation.
The authority uncovered the sand and excavated the nest today, the 79th day from when the turtle nested at Gnejna.
A marine turtle’s nest normally takes 50-68 days to hatch, although later hatching dates have also been reported in rarer cases (depending on sand temperature).
Officials on site checked other sand areas in the bay, confirming that the blue clay was also water-logged in such areas.
In the coming days, the authority will be sending a sample of the recovered embryos to an international laboratory for DNA testing.
It thanked stakeholders who positively contributed and ensured that the maximum level of protection and co-operation was maintained during the hatching period.