MATTHEW OLDFIELD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MATTHEW OLDFIELD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Ranger releasing green turtle hatchlings (Chelonia mydas) on to a beach. These turtles were hatched in a protected hatchery. Turtles are wholly aquatic reptiles, the females only coming ashore to lay their eggs. Each female lays between 100 and 200 eggs in a nest dug in the sand. The eggs hatch after about 2 months. When the majority of the eggs have hatched the hatchlings make a dash for the relative safety of the sea, usually under the cover of darkness. It is thought that they locate the sea by heading for the horizon, which is detected by subtle differences in light frequency. This has led to artificial light sources, such as cars and buildings, guiding the hatchlings in the wrong direction with fatal consequences for the already threatened turtles. Photographed in Pulau Selingan, Sabah, Malaysia.
Model release not available. Property release not required.