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A baby Green sea turtle returns to its hometown

Date. 2021-03-02
Hit. 148

An atificially incubated sea turtle released from Jeju Island, reaches the east coast of Vietnam

 

The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF, Minister Seong-Hyeok Moon) announced that a baby Green sea turtle(Chelonia mydas) which was artificially incubated and released on Jungmun beach in Jeju Island last September, had successfully moved to the east coast of Vietnam and settled there.

 

Sea turtles are recognized as endangered species worldwide as their spawning sites are destroyed and their populations are decreased due to coastal development and environmental pollution. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), all seven species of sea turtles inhabiting in the world are at risk of extiction. Poaching and trade of sea turtles are strictly regulated according to the 'Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES)'.

 

MOF has designated four species of sea turtles* appearing in the seas of Korea as ‘marine protected species’ since 2012, prohibiting their capture and trade to restore wild populations and conserve species. MOF supports rescue and care activities for distressed and injured sea turtles. It also supports the project of releasing artificially reproduced sea turtles to nature.

 

* Green sea turtle, loggerhead sea turtle, hawksbill sea turtle, leatherback sea turtle

 

In particular, in cooperation with Hanwha Aqua Planet Yeosu, MOF succeeded in artificial reproduction of Green sea turtles for the first time in Korea in 2016. It has released a total of 104 sea turtles at the Jungmun Beach of Jeju Island since 2017.

 

Table 1. Sea turtle incubation entity release status (2017~2020)

Species

2017

2018

2019

2020

Total

Green sea turtle

80

5

3

8

96

Hawksbill sea turtle

-

-

-

8

8

Total

80

5

3

16

104

 

 

The National Marine Biodiversity Institute of Korea(MABIK) attached individual identification tags(Inconel tag) to all released sea turtles to ensure that they adapt well in the wild. In addition, MABIK attached satellite tracking devices to selected 15 sea turtles in an attempt to monitor their movement paths. According to the monitoring result, it was confirmed that released turtles successfully adapted to the wild environment. For reference, no cases were found as dead bodies in coastal waters within a week after releasing. Two (1.9%) cases of dead bodies were found after natural adaptation.

In particular, a three-year-old Green sea turtle has moved to the east coast of Vietnam. This green sea turtle was artificially incubated in 2017 and released at Jungmun Beach of Jeju Island in September, 2020. Against the Kuroshio Current, it swam 3,847km to the coast of Vietnam, known as the home of Green sea turtles, and settled in there.

 

The Head of the Department of Ecological Conservation (Moongeun Yoon) of MABIK said, "This monitoring result is very meaningful as it shows that sea turtles hatched in aquariums can move toward their native habitat even if they are released from the coast of Korea."

 

In addition, the Director of Marine Ecology Division of MOF (Jae-Young Lee) said, "We have confirmed results of efforts to restore wild populations of marine protected organisms through monitoring movement paths of sea turtles. We will continue to support reporoduction research and release projects of marine protected species, and contribute to the international efforts to preserve sea turtles.“

 

The movement path of released sea turtles with a satellite tracking device can be found in more detail in the Marine Bio Resource Information System (MBRIS, https://gis.mbris.kr).

 

    • Reference > Picture
Green sea turtle and hawksbill sea turtle (Hanwha Aqua Planet Yeosu)1 Green sea turtle and hawksbill sea turtle (Hanwha Aqua Planet Yeosu)2
Green sea turtle and hawksbill sea turtle (Hanwha Aqua Planet Yeosu)3 Green sea turtle and hawksbill sea turtle (Hanwha Aqua Planet Yeosu)4

▲ Green sea turtle and hawksbill sea turtle (Hanwha Aqua Planet Yeosu)

   
Baby green sea turtles released to nature 1 Baby green sea turtles released to nature 2

▲ Baby green sea turtles released to nature

   
Sea turtle attached with an entity identification tag and a satellite tracking device 1 Sea turtle attached with an entity identification tag and a satellite tracking device 2

▲ Sea turtle attached with an entity identification tag and a satellite tracking device

 

 

    • Movement Paths
Movement path of a green sea turtle released from Jungmun in September, 2020 Differences in movement paths between Green sea turtles (blue) and Loggerhead sea turtles (red)

Movement path of a green sea turtle released
from Jungmun in September, 2020

Differences in movement paths between Green sea turtles (blue)
 and Loggerhead sea turtles (red)

   
Marine life space information (MBRIS, National Marine Biodiversity Institute of Korea)

Marine life space information (MBRIS, National Marine Biodiversity Institute of Korea)

* https://gis.mbris.kr/