Trinidad is Protecting Its' Sea Turtle Nesting Grounds
IT'S HERE – the season when sea turtles return yearly to Trinidad & Tobago's shores to lay eggs from March to August. The first few leatherback and hard-shell turtles have begun returning to the beaches. With their return come the annual reminders from Turtle Village Trust (TVT) and LNG producer Atlantic about how to protect this endangered species and ensure their sustainability. In Trinidad, harming a sea turtle or sea turtle nest is a serious offense, and is not taken lightly.
Camille Salandy, manager of sustainability and corporate communications at Atlantic said that given the turtles’ status as an endangered species, the annual reminders are always crucial to informing the public about sea turtle conservation.
“Thankfully, we see more and more people sharing Atlantic’s passion for Trinidad and Tobago’s turtles –passion for their preservation and for the privilege we all have to go to the various turtle beach communities and see these fascinating creatures up close and personal. However, there is always someone new who has not heard the message about protecting the turtles," Salandy said in a media release.
She said that was why Atlantic continues to partner with the Turtle Village Trust on various initiatives that monitor and protect the turtles and increase awareness about their special role in TT's and the global marine ecosystem.
Flash photography discourages breeding females, and is not allowed on sea turtle breeding grounds. Please follow the law.
The TVT is an NGO established in 2006 to support the work of local sea turtle conservation community groups such as the Grande Riviere Nature Tour Guides Association, Nature Seekers (based in Matura), Fishing Pond Turtle Conservation Group and SOS Tobago. With help from corporate sponsors TVT and its partners help to monitor, research and nurture local sea turtle populations, and also to develop ecotourism opportunities in the communities where the turtles nest every year. TVT has been actively protecting sea turtle nesting sites in Trinidad for over 10 years.
GUIDELINES FOR SEA TURTLE WATCHING:
DO - Go with trained conservation guides who can ensure the safety of yourself and every turtle you encounter. Make sure to remain as quiet and still as possible, remain an observer, not a participant. Move slowly and speak softly; breeding mother sea turtles need a comforting safe environment, else they will not breed.
DO NOT - Use bright lights, flash photography, or loud speakers. Do not leave any litter behind, even the smallest piece of trash can kill. Finally, please do not handle or touch the sea turtles. Baby sea turtles contain small bones in their shells that can easily be broken if not handled properly.
Do encourage others to obey the rules. If you see anyone endangering sea turtles in the Trinidad and Tobago area, call the police or the following authorities: Turtle Village Trust – 667-8741, community groups – 469-1288 or 670-4257.