Workshops planned to prevent baby turtle deaths

| 13/03/2018 | 10 Comments
baby turtle deaths, Cayman News Service

Green turtle hatchlings on the beach (Photo courtesy of the DoE)

(CNS): The Department of Environment is organising free workshops for architects and electricians this month to help in the fight against the light pollution, which causes numerous baby turtle deaths every nesting season. Last year the number of turtle nests laid in the Cayman Islands was encouraging, the DoE said, but many thousands of the endangered sea turtles were killed or injured because artificial lights led them away from the ocean. In 2017 alone, DoE documented 45 known sea turtle nest “misorientations”, each incident involving up to 100 baby turtles.

“In these incidents, baby sea turtles were confused by lights near the beach and crawled away from the ocean and toward the lights on land, where many were killed by vehicles, dehydration, or predators,” a spokesperson for the DoE said.

In another 33 cases, DoE staff or volunteers intervened as the nests hatched in an attempt to prevent the baby turtles from going the wrong way. But the experts explained that this interference in the natural process is still likely to have reduced survival. It is also likely that many more misorientations occurred on our beaches but were undetected.

Artificial lighting shining on beaches where the turtles are nesting is a serious threat to sea turtle survival and the DoE is urging people who live on the beach to install turtle-friendly lighting. This specialist lighting can protect turtles while still providing light for beachfront owners.

Turtle-friendly lighting uses specific design and positioning with an amber wavelength. This colour is appealing to property owners and residents, as it resembles candlelight, but is much less likely to lead baby turtles away from the sea. Turtle-friendly lighting has been used for many years in Florida and other US states and has been proven safe and effective.

With the 2018 nesting season due to start in the next few weeks, the DoE will be holding free workshops on 19 and 20 March for architects and electricians about the lighting design and installation. They will be led by Florida-based turtle-friendly lighting experts, who have been involved in turtle friendly lighting projects for over 12 years and who have conducted more than 400 retrofits of beachfront properties.

“We hope this training will make turtle-friendly lighting more readily available to Cayman’s beachfront property owners, decreasing the numbers of sea turtle misorientations in future,” the DoE said.

Anyone interested can RSVP by Thursday to to sign up for an appropriate session, specifying architect or electrical contractor.

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Category: Land Habitat, Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (10)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Put this specification in the building code. Architects and electricians do what the owner of the buildings request. Please this isn’t rocket science.

  2. West bay Premier says:

    Why are the Department of Environment organizing a free work shop for Architect and electricians ? Is that putting the cart in front of the horse . Why don’t DoE spend that time and money getting a Law put in place to prevent people from really over lighting their property during the turtle nesting season. Stop wasting time and money .

    Architect and Electricians work for the ones that hire them , so they do what they say that they want , and sometimes they sell them more work for them to do .

    • Anonymous says:

      Chicken-egg. Can’t require someone to do something they don’t know how to do. And if they did try that they’d be accused of killing development with bureaucracy or something and it would get no-where.

  3. Anonymous says:

    A free workshop isn’t going to resolve this. It needs to be written in to the building code, something along the lines of ‘any building or light source within 150ft of the shoreline or a sandy beach must have appropriate bulbs fitted’.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Make it law that beach properties have turtle friendly lighting, and fine the hell out of anyone who fails to comply. It’s really that simple.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Need to start with the existing properties that are already using non-turtle friendly lights. Along South Sound as well.

  6. Turtle Recovery says:

    At 8:13….what an asshole thing to say in this day and age!!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    They do make a good stew.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m assuming you were just trying to be funny, but it’s a shame yours was the first comment up on this otherwise very serious and important topic. Remember, there is no “laugh my head off” button anymore, so your joke can’t be identified as just that, and will certainly offend a lot of people!

    • Anonymous says:

      There won’t be any left for you to kill unless we protect the hatchlings.

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