The Maafaru Airport in the Maldives receives numerous visitors, including an unanticipated guest in April 2019. Staff members discovered an endangered green sea turtle in the midst of the runway, leaving a trail of eggs on the tarmac.
The turtle had come back to her customary nesting site, which had inadvertently become a part of the airport.
The existing turtle nesting site has now become the location of the Maafaru Airport runway. Sea turtles often return to the beach where they hatched in order to lay their eggs, sometimes taking several years to reach the same beach.
The sea turtle depicted in the picture was likely born and hatched on that very beach, and had previously laid her own eggs on the same beach before it was converted into an airport runway.
“Most species of sea turtles are drawn to the same area where they were born and where they have nested in the past,” said David Godfrey, executive director of the Sea Turtle Conservancy, as quoted by The Dodo. “That turtle was very likely born and hatched on that stretch of beach… For the turtle to be laying her eggs tells me it’s not the first time she has come to this shore.”
Thankfully, the workers and local officials were able to safely return the turtle to the ocean and she was in good health. However, it has been observed that other sea turtles are also coming to the beach with the intention of laying their eggs, only to find a runway in the way.
“Despite the construction of the runway, the frequency with which turtles visit the island for nesting purposes has not decreased,” stated a source from Maafaru Island Council, as reported by the Edition.
The Maafaru Airport is still undergoing construction and once completed, it will have the capacity to accommodate up to six jets. Additionally, there are plans for a hotel and resort to be built on the same beach. This could pose challenges for the green sea turtles in returning to lay their eggs once all the construction is finished.
On tuesday a green sea #turtle came from the sea and laid eggs on the middle of the aircraft runway of Maafaru airport in Noonu Atoll. Little she knew that it is no more her home now. Turtles have habbit of returning back to the same location. No more same for them !! pic.twitter.com/xRhgoSkMV6
— Parveen Kaswan, IFS (@ParveenKaswan) April 11, 2019
Activists are collaborating with the Maldives government to find a solution to the issue. They are also engaging with developers to establish a sustainable approach that will contribute to the conservation of the unique animals and plants in the area.
Sea turtles are encountering challenges in other regions as well. Rising ocean temperatures and sea level elevation are causing shorelines to shrink, reducing the available area where turtles can lay their eggs.
“Sea turtles need advocates,” emphasized Godfrey. “Advocates among voters, citizens – they depend on us.”
Given that the Maldives heavily relies on tourism, it is crucial for developers and environmental activists to continue working together to ensure the safety and protection of turtles and their eggs.
Rewritten Source: https://blog.therainforestsite.greatergood.com/turtle-eggs-runway/