The plight of Mother Turtle


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South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Santiago Island
November 30th 2009
Published: November 30th 2009
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Islas De Galapagos, Isla Santiago,
16-10-1990.

Curious prehistoric-looking reptiles eye us, approaching us easily and unafraid while we disembark from our dingy, shoes in hands since we invade this animal kingdom by a so-called wed landing. Slowly they shuffle closer over the black lava bed with its eroded shapes and small pools that house black-colored crabs - perfect camouflage in this volcanic landscape.

All around our dingy huge sea turtles awkwardly work their way up the beach, their progress is slow and difficult. Out at sea they might be in their element but here on the hot beach they are being tested to their limits.

Together with countless gulls, no doubt aware of what is about to take place, we sit around watching them find a suitable spot on the beach, go through the even harder work of digging holes and eventually polp-plop-plop, small white colored eggs appear from turtle bodies, still covered in uterus slime and gore.

This is the time our feathery gull amigos have been waiting for. Exitedly and with happy anticipation they fly up and start to harras the tortoise mothers, skydiving and faster than the turtle eyes can follow eggs disappear down
Me on the beachMe on the beachMe on the beach

Isla Santiago
hungry gull throats. Pieces of shell and specks of egg yolk, all that is left of potential new tortoise live.

So sad to see the gulls stealing them from right under the tortoise eyes. Some eggs don''t even experience of the sensation of hitting the earth...sharp gull beaks snatching them quite literally out of the birth canal.

Desperately Mother Turtle tries to cover her precious clutch covering them with warm fine beach sand but..alas...to no prevail. The moment she is fini with her work and makes her way back to the safety of the ocean, bold gulls attack their mounts in the dozens. Soon enough they get at their prize and have a ball leaving all Mother Turtle's hard work to nada but full gull bellies.

Darwin's Law "Survival Of The Fittest" can be observed here every day. However emotionally shaken I might be by what we have just seen, the plight of Mother Tortoise in a gruesome way, it is stil FASCINATING.


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