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Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,395
Marty Offline OP
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The sea turtle nesting season started in May and turtles will be coming up to nest on our beach through to November. Turtles are very important not only to the ecosystem but also to our tourism industry. The only way to ensure we can continue to enjoy these amazing animals is to ensure they are successful at reproducing. This means protecting their nesting areas.

The main nesting areas in Ambergris Caye are from Punta Azul to Robles Beach and Rocky Point in the north of the island.

The public is urged to please be mindful when traveling north to look out for any signs of a nest and to avoid running over these. Driving over the nest will cause the sand to be compacted resulting in the hatchlings not being able to escape the nest once hatched and all hatchlings will die. The Hol Chan staff monitors the nesting beach, working closely with persons residing in the area, clearly marking each nest. Persons utilizing these beaches for recreation are also asked to be mindful that they are not disturbing any nest.

Sea Turtles and their nest are fully protected under the Fisheries Act. If you think that you have seen a nest that is not marked or a sea turtle crawl please report it to the Hol Chan office at 226-2247, you can also report via our FB page or through Whattsapp at 614-6439.

Sea turtle eggs in nest
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Potential nest along the road north of tranquility, our team is working to confirm if it is a true nest. Please exercise caution if you are traveling that way.
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The photo below by Coleen Creeden
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Turtle Nesting Season Under Threat from Human Activity

The 2022 Turtle Nesting Season is underway, with nests already registered on the beaches of North Ambergris Caye. While the island has long been a hot spot for turtle nesting, the increase in human activity has threatened the health of a successful nesting season in recent years. According to Hol Chan Marine Reserve, the local authorities in charge of monitoring and recording the nesting season on Ambergris Caye, the main areas are from Punta Azul to Robles Beach and the Rocky Point area. The first turtle nests were reported in early May, and the season will last until November. On their social media page, Hol Chan shared the importance of protecting these nests, stating, "Turtles are very important not only to the ecosystem but also to our tourism industry. The only way to ensure we can continue to enjoy these amazing animals is to ensure they are successful at reproducing."

Some of the main issues endangering the successful hatching of these nests include vehicle traffic in the area and the improper disposal of garbage. "The public is urged to please be mindful when traveling north to look out for any nest signs and avoid running over these. Driving over the nest will cause the sand to be compacted, resulting in the hatchlings not being able to escape the nest once hatched, and all hatchlings will die. The Hol Chan staff monitors the nesting beach, working closely with persons residing in the area, clearly marking each nest. Persons utilizing these beaches for recreation are also asked to be mindful that they are not disturbing a nest," says Hol Chan. Turtle eggs have an incubation period of around 45 to 70 days for most species. It is reported that a hatchling sea turtle can take up to three to seven days to dig its way out of the nest to the surface. Undisturbed nests can have more than 90% of the clutch successfully hatch for most sea turtle species. Nests disturbed by humans or animal predators tend to have a 25% or even lower success rate. Only about one in 1,000 turtles survive to adulthood, heightening the importance of protecting all nests to ensure the maximum number of hatchlings.

Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun

Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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Hol Chan Marine Reserve:

Yesterday was observed as World Sea Turtle Day, coincidentally our Technical and Operations Teams were out conducting their weekly surveys on sea turtle nests. These surveys play a crucial role in the measure of abundance and population trends of sea turtles. This was also an opportunity to train the new generation of Hol Chan Staff in the field of science. "The most rewarding and important type of learning is through experience" ~ Jack Hann

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Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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Sea turtle nesting in northern Ambergris Caye continues under threat from human activity


Over the past weeks, more sea turtle nests have been spotted on the beaches of northern Ambergris Caye. The nesting season, which lasts through November, primarily covers an area from Punta Azul to Robles Beach and the Rocky Point area. Every year a crew from the Hol Chan Marine Reserve monitors and records the nesting period and the challenges affecting the season. This includes human activity such as increased and careless vehicular traffic and improper disposal of garbage. Recently, residents have discovered destroyed turtle nests and eggs on the beach.

According to residents near these remote beaches, reckless motorists are to blame. Certain spots along places like Robles and Rocky Point have signage to advise anyone driving on the beach to do so responsibly because of the active sea turtle nesting season. However, this appears not to be working and has affected some nests. Some complaints from persons witnessing the damage to nests are that people seemed to remove the signage, making it difficult for others to know where a nest may be.

The public is reminded not to disturb a turtle nest, and if they spot an unmarked nest or see a turtle crawling in the area, please report the sighting to the Hol Chan office by calling 226-2247 or messaging Facebook https://www.facebook.com/holchanbelize. You can also reach out to them via WhatsApp at 614-6439.

Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun

Joined: Oct 1999
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While we wait to hear about the turtle nests of 2022, here is a summary of how the Ambergris Marine Turtle team checks the nests.

If you drive on the beach please respect the signs and barriers designating turtle nesting beach. Do not remove them.

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2013:

Who knew baby turtles could be so sneaky? We have been checking the 3 nests near us up to 5 times a day. Even though we didn't get to see any babies, we are happy to know the nests hatched. Right under our noses. With every visit from the good folks at Ambergris Caye Marine Turtle Program we learn about turtles.

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Joined: Oct 1999
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Good news! The trampled nest hatched! Now we wait for Ambergris Marine Turtle Team to come count the hatched eggs. Photo by Coleen Creeden

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On October 4th, 2022, Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association's staff participated in Hol Chan Marine Reserve's weekly monitoring of sea turtle nesting sites on Northern Ambergris Caye. The TASA and Hol Chan Marine Reserve teams visited nesting sites at Robles Point and Basil Jones in the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve, where our team were able to participate in the active monitoring of several nests and assist in the release of a few green sea turtles.

The monitoring of important sea turtle nesting beaches is an integral component of TASA's new Adaptive Management Framework; this activity provided our staff with a much-needed refresher in monitoring sea turtle nests. In Belize, Sea Turtles are fully protected, but are at dire risk due to many damaging factors, including but not limited to human development, erosion, predation, and pollution. These monitoring activities help us to track and devise targeted plans to improve and maintain a healthy sea turtle population.

A special thanks to Kirah, Brittney, Manuel, and the entire Hol Chan Marine Reserve Team who, with warm hospitality, welcomed our team to participate in the monitoring activity. Our staff at TASA looks forward to replicating this activity at historical turtle nesting sites in the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve.

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Hol Chan has many years of experience monitoring the nesting beaches of Ambergris Caye. It was a pleasure to share the knowledge, and experiences with our colleagues from Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association. Nesting beaches within Belize are threatened by many natural and anthropogenic factors. It is essential that data be collected for all areas to feed into the national efforts to address these threats. HCMR is honored to play a role in building the capacity of the TASA team to improve monitoring within Turneffe Atoll.

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