DoE makes emergency baby turtle intervention

| 07/10/2020 | 6 Comments
Cayman News Service
Paul Chin, the DoE’s ‘turtle whisperer’, rescues sleeping baby turtles

(CNS): The Department of Environment’s Turtle Team went into rescue mode Monday, as they worked hard to move turtle eggs in nests that were in the firing line from Tropical Storm (later Hurricane) Delta. Organised by the team leader, Lorri Lamb, the DoE staff and volunteers excavated 18 nests under threat of being washed away by the high seas and saved hatched turtles in eleven nests not yet ready for their journey to the sea.

During the emergency intervention, trained turtle experts made sure that eggs were moved away from the threat of the storm. Hatchlings that were still sleeping on the beach were transferred into sand-filled buckets to sleep a little longer before they are released, once the seas subside, to make their way down to the water on the first safe evening.

The DoE is expecting a record-breaking year for turtle nests when the season ends in 2020. And despite the significant increase in turtles coming to nest on Seven Mile Beach in particular, all of the local turtle species nesting in Cayman remain endangered and these wild turtles need as much help as they can get.

A significant way to improve the chances of survival for these babies is the use of turtle-friendly lighting that doesn’t interfere with their innate navigation systems, which guide them by moonlight to the sea.

The DoE has confirmed that it has some limited funding to offer owners of beachfront properties in critical nesting habitat to cover the cost of replacing lights. The money has been sourced from the Environmental Protection Fund, and owners can visit the DoE website here to find out if they are eligible.

However, many property owners have been happy to foot the bill themselves to change the lighting on their condo complexes. This turtle-friendly lighting prevents the babies from being disoriented by artificial light, removing at least some of the hazards, such as falling into swimming pools or ending up in car parks and roads, that confront these tiny animals as they make their start in life.

The DoE has worked with several supportive properties, such as Christopher Columbus, Drifter’s Cove, Silver Sand,; and The Renaissance, all of which now have turtle-friendly lighting that can make a property even more attractive at night.

“We appreciate the support of these amazing properties and their owners for being turtle champions and protecting one of our national treasures,” the DoE said on social media as they urged owners to get in touch.

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Category: Land Habitat, Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (6)

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  1. Proudcivilservant says:

    I am so proud to be a civil servant.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Well done, thank you! And look forward to seeing turtle-friendly lighting at more properties on SMB.
    Are there any restaurants near the beach, with turtle-friendly lights?

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