Sea Turtle Nesting Season underway in Anguilla

anguillian
By anguillian May 15, 2017 09:37

 

 

Turtle nesting season has begun and the Anguilla National Trust is looking for volunteers to assist with its sea turtle beach monitoring programme. The ANT is requesting the help of dedicated individuals who are willing to “adopt a beach” by walking along it during the morning hours, looking for signs of turtle nesting activity. The beaches should be walked/monitored once a week, from May through November. All data collected will feed into the National Trust’s sea turtle research programme.

Although turtles are known to nest throughout the year, peak activity occurs between July and October. During these months the Anguilla National Trust (ANT) puts a special focus on documenting any nesting or nest hatching activities throughout the island. All species of sea turtle are considered threatened or endangered and three of these species are known to nest on Anguilla’s beaches, the leatherback, hawksbill and green. While the ANT conducts weekly beach surveys at key locations to document activity, an important key role can be played by beach-goers that notice signs of activity.

Throughout the month of May, the ANT will also be conducting night patrols. Sea turtles observed nesting during these patrols will be outfitted with satellite tags. The tags will provide critical information regarding sea turtle movements during and after the nesting season.

If adult turtles or hatchlings are sighted during the day or night, residents and visitors are kindly asked to report any activity – nesting or hatching – to the ANT by calling 497 5297 (day) or 584 2173 (after work hours), preferably when the turtle and hatchlings are still on the beach. This will allow ANT and its partner agency, the Department of Fisheries and Marine Resources, to collect important information about the sea turtles. E-mails may be sent to jr.axatrust@gmail.com or fm.axatrust@gmail.com. Individuals are asked to keep disturbances to a minimum until an ANT officer arrives. Persons are also reminded that it is an offence to harm sea turtles in any way or to disturb their nests.

As most nesting events occur during the night, hoteliers and restaurant owners are also kindly being asked to remove chairs and other obstacles from the beach after dark. Ideally, beachfront lighting should also be kept to a minimum between 9pm and 5am as it disorients adults and hatchlings, often leading to their death through exhaustion or dehydration when they are unable to locate the sea.

Sea turtle monitoring work being conducted during this sea turtle nesting season is in collaboration with the Department of Fisheries and Marine Resources and is funded through the European Union’s Voluntary Scheme for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Territories of European Overseas.

Individuals who are interested in taking part in the nesting beach monitoring programme or the night patrols are asked to contact Ms. Janeczka Richardson, at 497 5297 or to visit the ANT office located in The Valley.

– Press Release

(Published without editing by The Anguillian newspaper.)

anguillian
By anguillian May 15, 2017 09:37

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