At the start of each April, people on the northeastern shorelines of Brazil can witness the critically-endangered hawksbill sea turtles emerge from their eggs and make their first steps into the waters of the Atlantic. But as people have been advised to stay indoors to slow the spread of the coronavirus, this year the amazing reptiles enjoyed a tranquil, stress-free hatching season on the empty beaches of the area.
Nearly 100 hawksbill sea turtles, or tartarugas-de-pente as they are known in Brazil, hatched last Sunday in Paulista, a town in the north-eastern state of Pernambuco, and they have done so undisturbed because of the coronavirus restrictions that prohibit people from gathering on the region’s sands.
Photographs were taken by government workers, the only people to witness the event, showed the tiny creatures making their way down the beach and into the Atlantic waves.
According to Brazil’s Tamar conservation project, which protects sea turtles, hawksbills lay their eggs along the country’s north-eastern coast and are considered a critically endangered species. And while measuring as little as 3 inches as hatchlings, they can grow up to 110cm in length and weigh 85kg when reaching adulthood.
Paulista’s environmental secretary, Roberto Couto, said the town was home to four of the five types of turtle found along Brazil’s coastline: the hawksbill, the green sea turtle, the olive ridley turtle, and the loggerhead turtle. More than 300 turtles have hatched there this year.