Thursday, 26/10/2023 08:49

Blanche – the baby white sea turtle born on Côn Đảo

The baby white sea turtle was born at Six Senses Côn Đảo. — Photo Courtesy of Six Senses Côn Đảo

BÀ RỊA - VŨNG TÀU — Guests and hosts of Six Senses Côn Đảo resort have recently witnessed the hatching of a very special arrival at the resort’s in-house incubation centre: an exceptionally rare white sea turtle. 

Blanche is a Chelonia Mydas turtle, also known as green sea turtle, that was born with leucism, a genetic condition that leaves minimal melanin pigment in Blanche’s skin and shell. 

While there are no exact figures for the rate of leucism in sea turtles, it is acknowledged that leucistic hatchlings are extremely rare, with some marine biologists estimating the rate to be one in many hundreds of thousands of sea turtle eggs that are laid. 

Even at the best of times, sea turtle hatchlings face a multitude of challenges – once hatched, baby sea turtles must race across the beach to the ocean, avoiding crabs and birds, before continuing to outswim a myriad of fish and marine wildlife predators that consider baby turtles as dinner.

Not to mention, one of the greatest risks for the global sea turtle population worldwide today is unfortunately the human threat, stemming from poaching, pollution, and fishing activities as well as destruction of natural turtle habitats.

Blanche not only has to contend with this mountain of challenges, but also the difficulties arising from Blanche’s natural camouflage being removed by leucism, leaving Blanche white and extra visible to predators, particularly underwater. 

Leucistic hatchlings also generally suffer from various malformations, which in Blanche’s case includes limited sight. — VNS

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