News Release

Rare albino turtles hatch on Vamizi Island

01 June 2015
Albino turtle hatchling, Vamizi Island, Mozambique
Photo: Joana Trindade, Vamizi Island

Even after long years of nesting monitoring, there are still things that surprise us all. For the first time on Vamizi Island in Mozambique, on the turtle monitoring project that started over 10 years ago, four albino green turtle hatchlings were found on the island's most successful nesting beach, two of which were still alive. What was even more interesting about these hatchlings, was their red eyes (lack of pigmentation), a common consequence of albinism.

"Since the discovery, we have been doing some research and haven’t yet been able to find any records of albino green turtles with no pigmentation in their eyes." says Joana Trindade, Conservation Community manager, Vamizi Island, Mozambique. The two albino hatchlings, along with another three with normal pigmentation, one of which had supernumerary scutes, were all released and made their way safely to the sea. "We were able to collect tissue samples from other hatchlings which unfortunately did not survive, as well as the two albino hatchlings which were found dead in the nest and are hoping to run genetic tests on these samples in order to shed some light on the science behind such an interesting finding" continues Trindade, "We are also contacting other turtle researchers in order to get some more information on similar occurrences in other turtle projects."

Opened in 2005, the Vamizi resort and research centre has been run in scientific cooperation with the Zoological Society of London and WWF. In April 2014, Vamizi established an important partnership with IUCN to take the conservation, monitoring and research activities forward and establish a world-class research centre on Vamizi Island as the hub for global efforts focused on the preservation of the Mozambique Channel.


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