After a low number of turtle nests in 2014, the reptiles were in full nesting mode during 2015, lining the beaches of Ambergris Caye with their buried nests. Overall there were a higher number of nests, eggs and hatch rate last season.
Such are the results of the 2015 Turtle Report compiled by the Ambergris Caye Marine Turtle Monitoring Programing at Hol Chan Marine Reserve. The turtle nesting season began as early as April, when the first turtle was reported to crawl up to its nest. The season continued until the last week of November, when the last clutch hatched.
Among the many nests found during 2015, the majority of clutches were from Loggerhead (70) and Green turtles (39). These two types are well known in Ambergris Caye, while the least reported was the Hawksbill turtle (2), which rarely nests on the island.
The nesting grounds on Ambergris Caye are considered one of the most active turtle nesting areas in the entire country and so it is very important to contribute to the preservation of these areas. It is the only nesting area area that has been providing consistent data since 2009.
Based on intensive scientific research, it is estimated that from the thousands of turtles that successfully made it out of the nest this year on Ambergris Caye, only about 50 will make it to adult sexual maturity. Turtles nest every two years and female turtles are believed to nest up to three times in one nesting season. Fun fact: turtles are also known to return to nest on the same beach that they hatched on. Despite the little that is known about the migratory behavior of turtles between birth and sexual adulthood, it is estimated that they can live up to 80 years in their natural environment.
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