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#468988 - 07/25/13 03:50 PM 2013 Sea Turtle Nesting Season
Marty Offline

A total of 55 turtle nests have been recorded in Ambergris Cay for 2013. Two nests have hatched successfully and two were spoiled by TD2.

Just a reminder to everyone the sea turtle nesting season is May-November and we ask that people exercise caution when on the beach in Northern Ambergris Caye. We encourage all to reduce the use of lights on the beach were possible, and exercise caution when traveling using motorized vehicles along the beach. Sea turtles are ecologically important and have great importance for our tourism industry. Please do not disturb anything that you suspect is a turtle nest. Report all suspected nests or sea turtle crawls to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve office 226-2247.

Due to heavy surf nest has to be relocated to higher grounds. We have recorded a total of 55 nests for the 2013 season.

Inspecting nests after hatching to quantify hatching success rate.

Newly laid loggerhead nest. A total of 35 nests have been recorded in 2013 on Ambergris Cay; 27 nests are at Robles Beach, North Ambergris Caye

First hatchlings of the 2013 season. Few stragglers did not make it out of the nest and were given a little help.

A very large Green Turtle Nest at Robles Beach, North Ambergris Caye.

Rough Seas, so we had to access the turtle nesting beach through the Cantenah Lagoon. Turtle monitoring field crew trecking through shallow lagoon to get to Robles Beach.

Locating the nest of a large Logger Head turtle crawl

Recording Data from each nest

2 more nests at Robles Point Beach


Inspecting nests

Discovering eggs

The Ambergris Caye Marine Turtle Project is a research initiative to document current turtle nesting patterns and behavior; marine turtle density in the surrounding waters of the island; document turtle strandings and rehabilitate injured turtles; assess threats and implement conservation initiatives.

The Ambergris Caye Marine Turtle Project is managed and implemented by marine biologists that work on the marine protected areas of Ambergris Caye. The project started in 2007 by formalizing and recording marine turtle stranding data and rehabilitation. In 2009 Turtle nesting monitoring and research was initiated on the beaches of North Ambergris Caye. In 2011 in-water turtle density surveys were conducted.


#469352 - 08/01/13 06:14 AM Re: 2013 Sea Turtle Nesting Season [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Turtle nesting season “looking positive”

The month of August is the peak period for turtle nesting season in Belize. The full season runs from May to November. Reports from the Ambergris Caye Marine Turtle Program is that as the peak of the season approaches, 2013 is looking positive, with over 50 nests found so far on Ambergris Caye.

Kirah Forman, Marine Biologist at Hol Chan Marine Reserve spearheads the turtle program on Ambergris Caye and sheexplained that the nesting season is looking good. “So far we have had 56 nests. These nests were mostly found in the Robles Point and Rocky Point areas. We had a few in the Basil Jones area and one near Capricorn,” said Forman. “The nest we found near Capricorn was that of a Loggerhead turtle and the staff alerted us and we visited the area. That nest has hatched and from the 109 eggs, 80 hatched, which is a very good hatching success. It proves the theory that all of Ambergris Caye was a turtle nesting site at one point.”

At the start of July, a total of 35 turtle nests were recorded in Ambergris Caye for 2013. Two nests had hatched successfully while unfortunately two were destroyed by after effects of Tropical Depression 2. A few of the nests were also relocated in July due to heavy surf. Up to July 30, 56 nests have been located, with four more months more to go into the 2013 season. “This year, the nesting season is also looking good,” commented Forman.

And while the change in weather and beach erosion is an environmental challenge, humans have also been one of the major challenges for turtle conservation efforts. Poaching of turtle and nests, development, traffic on beach are all factors that affects the turtle conservation efforts. “One of the things that affect hatchlings along the beach is lighting. Hatchlings orient themselves to the brighter lights and if hotels and businesses and even private homes have bright lights they head towards it. For that reason, we are asking people who have bright lighting, on the northern part of the island to be mindful. We have even asked them to turn down the brightness of the light during the turtle nesting and hatching season,” said Forman. “During this season we also get a lot of stranded hatchlings along the beach. If people come across them on the beach, we asked them to bring the hatchlings into the Hol Chan Office or call the office and report it. We also remind the public that it is illegal to keep turtles as pets. In fact it is illegal to have any turtle products or carcass, eggs, hatchlings, etc.”

Since 2009, Ambergris Caye’s Marine Turtle Program, through Hol Chan Marine Reserve with assistance from the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve, has been collecting and monitoring activities on three species of turtles known to nest Ambergris Caye. Those three species are the Loggerhead turtle (ChleoniaCaretta), the Green turtle (ChleoniaMydas) and the Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate). Some interesting findings are that, since the program started, there has been an increase in turtle nests found and monitored. In 2012, 85 turtle nests were found on northern Ambergris Caye compared to the 43 found in 2011.

Hol Chan Marine Reserve is encouraging everyone living on the beach on the northern coastline to reduce the use of lights on the beach where possible and to please exercise caution when traveling via motorized vehicles along the beach. Sea turtles are ecologically important and have great significance for our tourism industry. Please do not disturb anything that you suspect is a turtle nest. Report all suspected nests or sea turtle crawls to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve office at 226-2247.

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the San Pedro Sun


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