Image Source: Wikimedia Commons. By: Tom Doeppner.

Endangered sea turtles have finally been part of some good news lately. First, 71 Green Sea Turtles were rescued in Bali and sent back to the sea. Now, 13 Hawksbill Turtles bred in captivity in Japan are also to be released into a natural habitat from Singapore later this year.

Five one-year-old and 8 three-year-old turtles were sent to the Underwater World Singapore aquarium last week to prepare them for their release. Staff at the aquarium will monitor the turtles and check their health and fitness levels for the release, which is expected to happen some time in September.

Also, the turtles will have satellite devices attached to the back of their shells that will allow scientists to study their migratory behavior and survival skills. These findings will be reported in October at an international convention on biological diversity.

Aquarium curator, Anthony Chang, explained that older turtles that were bred in captivity have a better chance of survival than those who begin life on the beach. Why? Well, according to Chang, people have a tendency to poach the turtles once they hatch from the eggs on the beach. He added:

“The turtles may be collected by people and they may be eaten up. The survivability of the small babies is very, very low.”

Hawksbill Turtles are a critically endangered species and can be found around the world. Their shells can slightly change color, depending on the temperature of the water and they love to feed on sea sponges. Unfortunately for them, they are faced with extinction. Not only are the turtle hatchlings poached, but the larger turtles are also hunted for their flesh, which is considered a delicacy throughout Asia, and their shells, which are used for decorative purposes.

By Heidi Marshall