Sea turtles (and nesting) on Klein Curacao
The turtles on Klein Curacao
Klein Curaçao, plays a crucial role in the conservation of two endangered sea turtles: the hawksbill turtle(Eretmochelys imbricata) and the green turtle(Chelonia mydas).
Hawksbill sea turtle(Eretmochelys imbricata)
The hawksbill sea turtle, also known as the hawksbill turtle, is one of the smaller species of sea turtles, with an average length of 60-90 centimeters and a weight of up to 8 kilograms. What distinguishes the hawksbill turtle is its beautiful carapace, which is unique because of the overlapping of scales that resemble a mosaic. These scales, known as “turtle leather,” used to be highly sought after and led to excessive hunting, which contributed to the decline of the species.
On Klein Curaçao we find important nesting areas for hawksbill turtles. Female hawksbill turtles return here annually to lay their eggs, often at night. They dig pits in the sand to bury their eggs before returning to the sea. After about 60 days, the tiny turtles hatch from the eggs and attempt the dangerous journey to the ocean. Unfortunately, these young turtles are vulnerable to predators and tourists visiting the island, highlighting the importance of protection.
Green turtle(Chelonia mydas)
The soup turtle, also known as the green sea turtle, is one of the largest sea turtles, with an average length of 80-110 centimeters and weighing up to 20 kilograms. This turtle has a distinctive olive-green color and is known for its diet of seagrass, from which it takes its name.
Klein Curaçao is also home to important breeding colonies for green turtles. These sea turtles have similar nesting habits to the hawksbill turtle. The females come ashore to lay their eggs, and after hatching, the young make their way to the sea.
Conservation efforts on Klein Curaçao
Fortunately, efforts are underway on Klein Curaçao and in the surrounding waters to protect these beautiful sea turtles and preserve their breeding populations. Some key initiatives include:
- Nest protection: Local organizations and volunteers monitor nesting areas to protect eggs from predators and human disturbance.
- Raising awareness: Educational programs and awareness campaigns inform both locals and tourists about the importance of sea turtle conservation and how they can contribute.
- Beach lighting: Measures are being taken to reduce artificial lighting on beaches because it can disorient and endanger juvenile turtles.
- Legislation: Curaçao has introduced laws and regulations to ensure the protection of sea turtles and their nesting sites.
Klein Curaçao is one of the many places around the world where these beautiful sea turtles continue their lives. Through joint efforts by the community, government and conservation organizations, we can ensure that these endangered species have a chance to survive and thrive for future generations to enjoy. The conservation of the hawksbill and green turtle on Klein Curaçao is not only crucial to the biodiversity of the Caribbean, but also a testament to the impact local communities can have when they work together to protect nature.