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Asia 25 May
Baby turtles rescued and returned to sea off Changi
By Wong Siew Ying, Channel NewsAsia
SINGAPORE : A group of roller bladers had an unusual sighting at East Coast Park beach on Tuesday night which sparked off a little search that lasted about three hours.
The group checked the drains and combed the fields in the hope of rescuing turtle hatchlings which were making their way towards the jogging track and away from the sea.
The initial search party of seven people soon grew in size with volunteers from the Raffles Museum, Nature Society and other NGOs joining in.
After three hours, a total of 76 baby turtles were rescued from the track, drains and shore and released back into the waters off Changi Beach.
Rescuers said two of the hatchlings died. One will be preserved and added to the Raffles Museum's Zoological Reference Collection.
The Straits Times 26 May 06
Rollerbladers rescue baby turtles at East Coast
by Radha Basu
THE deserted fringes of East Coast Park were the unlikely spot for a late-night drama on Tuesday when some rollerbladers spent more than three hours saving scores of lost newborn turtles: they were heading inland instead of out to sea.
The good Samaritans were later helped out by National Parks Board officials and volunteers from various environmental groups.
By 1am, 76 endangered hawksbill turtles - which most likely hatched on the nearby beach - were rescued and returned to the sea. Two, however, died.
IT executive Ricky Hair, 28, and seven colleagues had just embarked on their favourite sport around 9pm when they came across scores of the tiny creatures crawling inland onto the jogging and cycling tracks.
Mr Hair and his colleagues were first alerted by 'rustling noises coming from the dark'. 'Many were in deep distress, having fallen into drains. Others were on the cycling track and sure to be crushed,' said Mr Hair.
'We simply could not leave them there.' There appeared to be hundreds of them, so Mr Hair called the police and then the National Environment Agency.
But rather than wait for the officials, the friends went to the rescue. They borrowed buckets from a nearby sailing club and began catching the turtles and placing them in the containers.
Mr Hair, his colleague Chia Tze Chiang, 24, and a couple of others reached into drains and scoured the lawns and beach areas in search of the creatures. 'At first we tried returning the turtles we rescued to the sea, but they kept heading back, so we began putting them in pails of water,' said Mr Chia.
They were soon joined by NParks rangers, members of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research at the National University of Singapore, and other green groups.
Museum research officer N. Sivasothi was among those who arrived to help in the rescue. He was delighted by the efforts of Mr Hair and his friends. 'We thought they'd leave after NParks arrived to do the job. But they continued their search and rescue.'
Turtle expert Diong Cheong Hoong of the National Institute of Education explained that the tiny creatures, which would naturally follow 'the light in the distant horizon' out to the sea, had become 'disoriented' by the glare of lights from the beach.
The turtles were eventually released at the nearby much darker Changi Reclamation Beach, and swam with the tide out into the open sea.
Hawksbill turtle hatchling rescue and release at East Coast Park: More photos and lots more details of this on the habitatnews blog
Turtles rescued fron drains more photos on the ubin volunteer blog
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