Turtles still challenged but nest numbers steady

| 10/11/2016 | 33 Comments
Cayman News Service

Turtle nesting (Photo courtesy DoE)

(CNS): Over 300 turtle nests were identified by Department of Environment staff during this year’s turtle nesting season on Grand Cayman, with a combined total of more than 400 on all three islands, slightly down on the 2015 figures but given seasonal fluctuations, experts believe there is a steady upward trend. DoE Research Officer Janice Blumenthal told CNS that there were several reasons why turtle nests are increasing but she warned that increasing poaching and problems with light pollution are still presenting challenges for the endangered species.

Blumenthal said that the increased protection of adult turtles on nesting beaches by DoE conservation officers and volunteers has helped the population, as had more than eight years of legislative protection that has prevented adult turtles from being caught in a legal fishery.

She said that the DoE is beginning to identify green turtles that were released from the Cayman Turtle Farm in the 1980s coming back to nest on local beaches. But the DoE is also seeing an increase in the loggerheads, which are not released by the farm, she said.

Despite the healthy number of nests, Blumenthal warned that because each turtle lays more than one nest per season, the number of individual turtles in the nesting population is still very small and they are facing ever-increasing threats. Despite the laws in place, poaching remains a problem and there were several poaching incidents reported this year where adult female green turtles were taken from the beaches.

“Light pollution is now one of the most serious threats to turtle populations,” Blumenthal said. “Most nests are now on developed beaches, and without protection from the effects of artificial lighting our populations may not be able to continue their recovery.”

The recovery is impressive given the dire circumstances at the end of the 20th century, when the DoE began beach monitoring and found less than 30 nests. But it is still fragile and the DoE staff and teams of volunteers who walked over 1,400 miles to document the turtle season for 2016 know that there is still a lot of work to do to sustain the recovery.

Tags: , , ,

Category: Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (33)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    If it wasn’t for people in the past making livestock animals there would be no chicken, cows,pigs or other animals to eat . We are carnivores, these animals would have been extinct a long time ago. We need to make more turtle farms around the world.




    0



    0
    • Anonymous says:

      Facts!




      0



      0
    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah right. Your wild turtles are like a zillionth of a percent of the turtles in the Caribbean, Mexico and the US. No one else cares to have a farm because hardly anyone wants to eat sea turtle.




      0



      0
      • T Drump says:

        WRONG!




        0



        0
      • Anonymous says:

        Research will not support your alarmist assertions. Around the world, in tropical climates, indigenous people eat turtles from the wild.
        Try Googleing before writing crap on CNS. One of the biggest countries in the world, China eats more sea and fresh water turtles than the rest of the world combined………. go bitch at them.

        You sound like you are a part of that organization that needs to justify your $10 Million a year budget by constantly attaching CTC and Cayman, while doing almost nothing to help increase the population of wild turtles, in urder to keep the funds rolling in.




        0



        0
  2. Concerned Visitor says:

    Light pollution is a major problem for the hatchling turtles. Naturally, they head for the sea, which at night is lighter than the land behind the nest. Sadly, hatchlings will head for domestic lights, street lights or other light pollution. This season has seen many hatchlings found in swimming pools and gardens or just driven in land due to the human desire for illumination. It is heartbreaking, needless and avoidable. Hotels and Condo-complexes are often the worst culprits. If light cannot be switched off at night, a small investment in red bulbs would at least reduce the destructive influence. The DoE needs resources to educate those who could so easily reduce their impact on these creatures.




    0



    0
    • Anonymous says:

      One only has to contrast the protections afforded to nesting turtles in Florida, including light pollution protections, with the complete joke that is the attitude of CIG to the issue. I firmly believe that the horrific turtle farm normalises mistreatment of these creatures and indirectly shapes the terrible lack of government intervention to protect the wild population.




      0



      0
  3. Anonymous says:

    As long as the state normalises the barbaric practice of eating this creatures rather than ostracising those that support it, there is little hope of the turtle population receiving the same respect as in civilised nations.




    0



    0
    • Anonymous says:

      Darling, you need to try a good plate of turtle stew during Pirates Week. If you’re a vegan, fear not, so is the green turtle! I promise you you’ll lick your lips and say, boy dat was good!
      It’s really no more barbaric than gobbling down a plate of moose meat, or Bambie the deer, if you’re a Nordic interloper, then whale, perhaps a squirrel yah blast out of a tree!! Like WE…
      We too release what we eat to the wild. As a Caymanian I do not agree with killing a nesting turtle and poachers should be dealt with.
      Like you and your ilk , we have narrow minded people amongst us! So, whatever “civilized” nation you drifted from, think about your hypocritical remarks and resolve your own issues before you spout!!!




      0



      0
      • Anonymous says:

        I did not know that roe deer were endangered species. Oh they aren’t.




        0



        0
      • Anonymous says:

        Sweetie, it’s barely edible and all those other animals are plentiful. Also most sportsmen are looking shoot something that’s a little faster. But I’ve always wondered why Cayman never mentions a whaling tradition like all the other islands. Turtles must have been easier.




        0



        0
    • Anonymous says:

      I also engage in the “barbaric practise” of eating chicken, fish, cow, pig and vegetable (just for good measure). Most of these come from a farm as far as I am aware – same as the turtle I occasionally eat. Some farm conditions are better than others. For example, free range versus a tiny wire coup. But is does not stop me eating the products. Amazing isn’t it?




      0



      0
      • Anonymous says:

        The barbarism comes from the endangered status of the creature and the normalisation of the practice of eating it that the state supports by the farm. Those that support such barbarism are backward hicks.




        0



        0
        • Anonymous says:

          Anon 9:11 am. You just could not resist the name calling could you?

          How does consuming an animal that is produced in a closed loop farm, ie. the turtle are raised from second generation farm raised turtles that lay their eggs on the farm’s beach and are fed properly balanced diets until they are mature and harvested at 120lbs+, contribute to the depletion of endangered turtles in the wild?

          In your name calling of Caymanians and your blind intent to attack the Cayman Turtle Center, you conveniently ignore the FACT that in excess of 250,000 sea turtles are murdered in the wild, each year, by the seafood industry so that you can go to a supermarket or restaurant and eat that seafood dish you so crave.

          You and everyone in the world who buys and eats seafood of any kind are doing far more damage to the endangered wild sea turtles than “barbaric and backwards hick” Caymanians are doing by eating farm raised turtles occasionally in their homes.

          Your ignorance of the facts also allow you to ignore the more than 31,000 turtles that have been released to the wild by Cayman Turtle Centre, many of which are the subject of this particular article as it is proven that hatchlings release 20 years ago are the mothers that account for the majority of the increase in nests in recent years.

          The convenient truth is that people like you are afraid to tackle the vast fishing industry and countries like Mexico that harvest 35,000 turtles from the wild each year and concentrate your name calling and attacks on a small country like the Cayman Islands and the Cayman Turtle Centre who you think you can bully in the press.




          0



          0
          • Anonymous says:

            Your turtle numbers amount to nothing in the big picture. Eat every one if you want, but the criticism is not ever going to stop, so get used to it.




            0



            0
        • Anonymous says:

          Racist bigot. You clearly don’t understand our culture.




          0



          0
        • Anonymous says:

          Tell me one animal that is more endangered than wild cows….




          0



          0
          • Anonymous says:

            There are substantial numbers of wild cattle global. Domesticated cattle do not exist in the wild, because they are domesticated. Duh.




            0



            0
    • Anonymous says:

      By “civilized nations” I presume you mean Countries such as the USA?

      Here is an inconvenient truth to go along with your assumption……….. The USA legally declared exporting 31,783,380 fresh water turtles, taken from the wild, to China over the last three years.

      for anyone math challenged, that is an average of TEN MILLION,FIVE HUNDRED AND NINETY FIVE THOUSAND, FOUR HUNDRED SIXTY per year.
      Nam, Nam, turtle on the menu in China every day ……… and plenty of it

      How many did Cayman export? NIL, ZERO, NADA.




      0



      0
  4. Anonymous says:

    The Turtle Farm releases from 10/20 years ago are coming back to nest now. Thank you Turtle Farm for your important contribution to saving the species. If it weren’t for you we would still be recording 30 nests a season.




    0



    0
    • Anonymous says:

      Not true. See the part where the researchers note that the loggerhead nests are increasing as well. (Most) of the numbers in the article are not attributed to specific species. So while the Farm has helped (when it release large numbers of turtles so that a couple might survive to return) you can NOT claim that without the Farm there would still be “30 nests a season”. It might not be 300-400 but it would be more than 30.




      0



      0
      • Anonymous says:

        The benefit of having a readily available supply of farmed meat should not be overlooked either. There would probably be zero nests per year due to poaching if farmed turtle wasn’t available. That’s the sad truth!




        0



        0
        • Turtlelover says:

          If the turtle poachers were given a few years in the slammer they might change their ways. Slaps on the wrist don’t do squat!




          0



          0
        • Anonymous says:

          Unless we spent the millions we spend subsidizing the Farm to pay for turtle protection patrols and public reeducation and then let turtles repopulate on their own without us eating them. Natural recovery has worked fine for loggerhead turtles (see article). – An interesting mental game, isn’t it?




          0



          0
          • Anonymous says:

            That is the ticket …………… put more CAYMANIANS IN JAIL AND THROW AWAY THE KEYS, simply because you want to remove the availability of subsidized cheap turtle meat that is deterring poaching!

            Do you even think about what you write or are you only interested in playing mental Games?

            You are not even suggesting that Government “save” the money used to subsidize the Turtle Farm………….. only that they give it to another department of government so that they can jail Caymanians who would then be tempted to poach because we create an inflated value for poached turtle meat by not making it readily available legally through the Turtle Farm.

            Mental games indeed ………. with emphasis on the “mental” side in your case.




            0



            0
            • Anonymous says:

              Note that I did not suggest one action over the other. I merely pointed out that there were viable alternatives to your claims.

              And do you disagree that people who break the law should be punished? Even at Pirates Week the pirates are ostracized by the end.




              0



              0
  5. Anonymous says:

    Where do these volunteers come from? Are any local companies doing their part in assisting?




    0



    0

Please include your email address in the form below if you are using your real name. You can use a pseudonym, with or without leaving an email address, or just leave the form blank to be "Anonymous". All comments will be moderated before they are published. Please read the CNS Comment Policy at the top of this page.

%d bloggers like this: