November 17, 2011

Building the Hatchery

After we changed our strategy on HOW we are fencing our hatchery area in between nesting seasons (driftwood instead of boards), we actually prevented people stealing our stronghold and managed to keep the area pretty much Olive-Ridley-nest-free.
In the beginning of November we started to remove ¾ of the hatchery sand, sifted and cleaned the remaining sand, and started to sift and bring-up clean sand (naturally disinfected by the sea) from the water-line to fill-up the hatchery.
The hatchery stretches over an area of 7.5x4.5m and 1m depth, and will have room for 30 Leatherback nests.
Removing the sand of the hatchery....
All of our volunteers, and also the volunteers from the MINAET station were of great help, and showed an amazing work attitude, and I would like to use this space here to thank them all. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!!
It were tough times, since all of us worked during
the night, and still got up at 5 am to work in the hatchery up until around 8-9 am. We did this for around 3 weeks, and everyone was sleep deprived and physically on their limits. But the reason for constructing the hatchery, to build an incubation station for a critically endangered species, that otherwise would have no hatching success in its naturals nests, seemed to be motivation enough for most of us.
Jairo measuring the dimensions of the hatchery. 

So in less time than anticipated we were able to finish the sifting and shovelling part of the construction, and erected the shade for the hatchery around on November 11th. The shade helps to keep the incubation temperatures below the lethal 32°C, which is essential for the hatching success inside the hatchery.
While the weather during the construction promised that summer would start soon, we were all up for a surprise when the rains started again, and drenched us during our nightly patrols, but also helped to restore the important humidity levels inside the hatchery.
So now our hatchery is done, everyone is recovering from their blisters, and is trying to catch-up on some sleep.
......and bringing up clean sand from the waterline. Go Yeudi and Gredi! 

Markus working hard

Andrey distributing and mixing the sand.
Putting up the frame for the shade.

Some acrobatic acts on the side by Chris and Jairo to replace a ladder.

Frame for hatchery almost done.

Sewing the shade of the hatchery. (Jairo and Miriam)

Compacting the sand in the hatchery. Work can also be fun.

Measuring the squares, and preparing for the first nest.

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