Police, hospital staff band together to rescue baby turtles in Muli

Hatchlings from a green turtle nest wander inland into M. Muli on June 13, 2020.

Police officers and hospital workers, on Saturday, rescued hatchlings from a green turtle nest that got disoriented and wandered inland into M. Muli.

The baby turtles had lost their way and wandered inland at around midnight.

The turtles had made their way inland near the Muli Regional Hospital. According to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the turtles wandered at least 150 meters away from the nearest beach.

Rishad Mohamed, who had been on duty at the hospital at the time, said that a doctor at the hospital called out to him and showed a baby turtle at the doors of the hospital at around midnight.

“I was on duty. And a doctor called out to me and showed me a baby turtle by the doors. I went out and saw the whole compound full of baby turtles,” he said.

Hatchlings from a green turtle nest rescued by M. Muli Regional Hospital staff after they wandered inland into M. Muli on June 13, 2020.

Rishad said that by the time he went out to the compound, the ambulance driver of the hospital had already collected many of the baby turtles into a styrofoam box.

And more baby turtles found wandering in the island were collected by police officers.

Muli Council vice president Mohamed Latheef told Sun that the island’s beaches were common nesting ground for sea turtles. But that he could not recall baby turtles having ever wandered inland.

Rishad said that a baby turtle or two had gotten disoriented and wandered inland in the past, but that he had never seen baby turtles wander inland in such large numbers.

He suspects the nest had been closer to inland than usual.

“It’s common for turtles to come to this island to lay eggs. Eggs are sometimes transferred from nests to hide them from thieves. This nest was behind a pile of sand towards the eastern end of the island. So the sole source of light visible to the hatchlings would have been coming from inland. Maybe they came towards the light,” he said.

Police officers and hospital staff are estimated to have rescued some 100 baby turtles between them.

The turtles were released back into the sea by police officers on Sunday morning.