Antigua leatherback turtle babies hatched safely

This video from Costa Rica is called Leatherbacks hatch at Gandoca, Limón.

From Caribarena Antigua:

Sandals Protects Leatherback Sea Turtle Hatchlings

Saturday, 23 June 2012 02:30

By caribarena news

Antigua St John’s – Dickenson Bay, June 22- More than forty guests from Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa were treated to something truly special when they witnessed the emergence of leatherback sea turtle hatchlings at Dickenson Bay Beach yesterday.

It had been more than 60 days since the imposing leatherback sea turtle affectionately known as ‘Lady Sandy’ made her way to Dickenson Bay shores to hatch approximately 100 eggs. In the wee hours of the morning on Thursday, June 21, approximately 20 hatchlings came out to the delight of onlookers.

This was followed by a nest excavation in which guests and staff members had the opportunity to guide the hatchlings.

“It was an incredible once in a lifetime experience and I know that guests were thrilled to be a part of it,” said an ecstatic Shernell Connor, who is the Director of Guest Services at Sandals Grande Antigua.

Thanks to the assistance of the Environmental Awareness Group’s Antigua Sea Turtle Conservation Project, another 27 healthy hatchlings emerged from the sand and made their way successfully to the sea.

Coordinator of the EAG’s Antigua Sea Turtle Conservation Project Mykal Clovis Fuller explained the purpose of the nest excavation.

“We want to determine how successful the nesting was so that we can extract data pertaining to the fertilized and non-fertilized eggs and in this case, approximately 50% of the eggs were viable, which is the norm for this critically endangered species,” commented Clovis Fuller.

This is the ending of the nesting season for leatherback sea turtles and there are a select number of beaches that they choose to nest on in Antigua and Barbuda. In fact, four years ago, a leatherback sea turtle came to Dickenson Bay so it is highly likely that it was ‘Lady Sandy’ since these turtles are very loyal creatures.

Leatherbacks are the largest of all the turtle species and the females normally nest every two to three years. Anyone who sees a leatherback sea turtle come to shore is encouraged to call 720-6955.

Thousands of leatherback turtle eggs and hatchlings have been crushed by heavy machinery along a Trinidad beach widely regarded as the world’s densest nesting area for the biggest of all living sea turtles, conservationists said on Monday: here. See also here.

15 thoughts on “Antigua leatherback turtle babies hatched safely

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  2. Ministry faces egg massacre backlash

    TRINIDAD: The Grand Riviere Environmental Organisation (GREO) slammed the Ministry of Works today for a botched beach operation that destroyed 20,000 leatherback turtle eggs.

    GREO said crews had been working to shift the course of a river which threatened a hotel which attracts tourists keen to see the endangered giant turtles lay their eggs.


  3. Trinidad authorities regret turtle tragedy

    PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Friday July 13, 2012 – Trinidad authorities have expressed regret that heavy excavators may have crushed leatherback eggs and hatchlings on a section of a prime nesting beach, but stressed the work was crucial to redirect a river that was threatening to erode larger nesting areas for the endangered sea turtle.

    Drainage director for the Environment and Water Resources Ministry, Shamshad Mohammed, said the nesting areas on Grand Riviere beach were waterlogged and 80 percent of the eggs were already destroyed.

    “We truly regret the slaughter of these magnificent sea creatures,” he said in a government statement issued Wednesday.

    Allan Bachan, director of the local Turtle Village Trust, said the area where heavy equipment was used was determined to be the best place to move sand on the 1-kilometer beach “in order to save the remaining 97.9 percent of the eggs, which is estimated to be over a million eggs.”

    Observers in Grand Riviere, where many people depend on ecotourism for their livelihoods, claim they saw leatherback eggs and healthy hatchlings wantonly crushed by a heavy machinery operator over the weekend as crews redirected a shifting river that was eroding nesting sites and threatening a hotel.

    Residents said they rescued hundreds of hatchlings dredged up by the machinery, but others were injured and eventually devoured by vultures and dogs on the beach, where it is believed that about 3,500 nesting females deposit over 200,000 eggs a year.

    According to Diego F. Amorocho, species program coordinator with the World Wildlife Fund’s Caribbean and Latin American programs, even if 2,000 eggs were lost during the weekend operation it would represent only about one percent of the total production for the northern Trinidadian beach.

    “Even though this is a terrible situation, fortunately it does not represent a significant threat to the stability of the leatherback turtle colony in Trinidad. Nonetheless, local authorities in Trinidad should take the necessary measures to avoid such a tragedy from happening again,” Amorocho said.

    Piero Guerrini, whose Mt. Plaisir Estate Hotel had been threatened by the shifting river, which began meandering closer to his business in December, has said the work redirecting the waterway was “done too late and it was done in the wrong way.” He and other local stakeholders said they had pressed the government for months to intervene.

    Officials have not explained why it took so long to organize the intervention, which came around the peak of hatching season.

    Marc de Verteuil, of Trinidad’s Papa Bois Conservation Organization, said the Grande Riviere River had eroded some of the dense nesting areas on the beach before the weekend, but the government work crews made a bad situation worse. His group has called for an investigation into the matter, claiming the work crews blatantly failed to follow protocol.

    Leatherback sea turtles have existed since prehistoric times, but are endangered today. Only a small fraction of hatchlings survive and even fewer go on to reach adulthood and reproduce.


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