Two nests found for endangered sea turtles

| 12/05/2010

(CNS): Loggerhead turtle nests have been found by Department of Environment (DoE) research officers and volunteers in North Side and Seven Mile Beach – the first turtle nests of 2010. Hawksbill and leatherback turtle nesting populations in the Cayman Islands are extinct but green and loggerhead turtles still nest here, though the DoE says the nesting of these two species are at critically low levels. Members of the public can help by calling to report turtle tracks and nests, by turning off lights on the beach during the turtle nesting season. (Left: Green turtle Track on Seven Mile Beach – Photo Gary Redfern)

The DoE says first nest was found in North Side on 3 May and the second nest on Seven Mile Beach on 4 May. From the size and shape of the tracks DoE staff determined that both nests were laid by endangered loggerhead turtles.

Every summer from May to October DoE staff and trained volunteers monitor beaches around the Cayman Islands for signs of turtle nesting. This includes 27 beaches in Grand Cayman, 16 beaches in Little Cayman and 7 beaches in Cayman Brac. The programme was founded in 1998 and has shown that while hawksbill and leatherback turtle nesting populations in the Cayman Islands are extinct, green and loggerhead turtles still nest here.
Each year about 60 turtle nests are found. According to DoE Research Officer Dr. Janice Blumenthal “nesting is at a critically low level but fertility rates are high so with continued protection our wild populations could recover. It’s encouraging that we’ve found two nests this early in the season.”

She added “It’s important to monitor the number of nests each year so we can tell how our turtle populations are doing. Also locating nests allows us to protect them. Heavy machinery and driving on the beach can crush nests and lights near the beach can disorient hatchlings. DoE is able to reduce these threats by working in cooperation with beach front residents, local companies, and other Government departments such as Planning and the Recreation Parks & Cemeteries Unit.”

All nests found by DoE are recorded and monitored through to hatching. Nests are left to hatch naturally but then are dug up after hatchling to determine hatch success and fertility and to make sure that all the hatchlings (baby turtles) have made it to the sea.

Members of the public can help by calling to report turtle tracks and nests, by turning off lights on the beach during the turtle nesting season, and by volunteering for the nesting beach monitoring program. Dr Blumenthal explained: “Nesting beach monitoring takes place on weekday mornings from 6 am until about 11 am. We have many volunteers who monitor a small section of beach near where they live and call us to report nests. Also, this season we particularly need volunteers ages 17 and up who can regularly accompany us for the entire morning so they can be trained to assist with finding and marking nests.”

For information on volunteering contact Department of Environment (Email DoE@gov.ky or call 949-8469).

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Category: Science and Nature

Comments (10)

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  1. Turtle's Head says:

    Do you read this and think how sad it is that people hear have hunted and eaten these great creatures to the edge of extinction or do you think "Mmmm dinner"?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Great job CNS for letting everyone know where they are… to go look for them…

    CNS: The information was released by the DoE, so while you are reading about it here first, this information will eventually be in all the media. I’m sure the DoE staff have weighed the pros and cons of keeping this secret and educating the public on the subject.

    • Anonymous says:

      CNS – as always, GREAT job in reporting first.  Keep it up no matter what some fools might think.  Someone has to be first.

  3. Animaliberator says:

    We shall see who has the proper feel good attitude to allow these creatures to not only nest but also see their offspring come to fruition by turning off night lights and not disturbing these nests in any form or way particularly at hatching time.

    Perhaps it is best however to remove the eggs by qualified turtle farm personnel and attempt to hatch them artificially as there are always these funny people who just simply can not leave them alone. These people fail to realize it is not their lives depending on it.

    I shall trust law enforcement to do their job and exercise their protective rights and duties to it’s fullest extend possible.

  4. solis says:

    Who cares about turtles anyway. I bet there is enough sea-life for everyone. They should drop the law protecting them. Look at least in the UK you can go and fish without being harassed

    • Anonymous says:

      What?  Are you on crack?  Lots of people care about turtles…if you don’t then mind your own business and don’t waste your time with your stupid comments.

    • Anon says:

      We care, even if you don’t, you don’t speak for all of us.

      Have you tried fishing in the UK?  Are you aware that as well as rod licences being required, there are also fishing byelaws, fishing seasons and protected species.

      In the last year the Environment Agency successfully prosecuted over 4,100 anglers with fines of over £383,000 and costs of £291,000.

      They also take numerous prosecutions against those that pollute or damage the environment.

  5. Bobby Anonymous says:

    Is anyone out there to protect these?? The last I heard the Doe officers were powerless due to the delay of the Conservation Law being passed.

    Can anyone throw some light on this?

    I do know that it is aginst the law to take or mollest any turtle and that the penalty is up to 500,000.00 CI Dollars in fines or/and one year in jail.

    Just something I thought should have been mentioned in the write up!

    Oh and for the poachers, we the public are watching and we will report you to the authorities. Night vision cameras are a wonderfull thing.