Tobago hotel welcomes first leatherbacks for season -Guardian Newspaper

Picture: One of the first leatherback turtles for Tobago’s 2012 nesting season that came ashore at Turtle Beach to nest.

Three nestings were recently monitored by members of turtle conservation and advocacy group, Save Our Sea Turtles (SOS) Tobago, as part of SOS’s annual turtle census initiative, implemented in collaboration with the Tobago House of Assembly Department of Natural Resources and Environment. SOS Tobago’s turtle census is part of the annual National Sea Turtle Tagging and Monitoring Programme, which is managed by the Turtle Village Trust and sponsored by LNG production company Atlantic.

Tanya Clovis-Howie, president of SOS Tobago, reported that the first nesting took place on February 28, and the second on March 6. Both turtles were new to Tobago shores. The third nesting occurred on March 11, by a turtle named Palance. Palance was first tagged by SOS Tobago in 2008, and she returned to nest on Turtle Beach in 2010. 

“SOS is happy to have our old friend Palance come back again safely in 2012 to Turtle Beach,” Clovis Howie said. “We are also happy for the new turtle arrivals. While it is good that we continue to record new turtle arrivals, this must be weighed against the continued decline in the global population of the critically endangered leatherback turtles.” Citing data from the annual turtle census conducted on Turtle Beach, Mt Irvine Back Bay Beach and Grafton Beach, Clovis-Howie said that in 2010, SOS Tobago tagged 80 new turtles (75 leatherbacks and five hawkbills) and recorded return visits by 69 leatherback turtles. However, in 2011 the group only tagged only 53 new turtles (45 leatherbacks and eight hawkbills) and recorded return visits by only 51 turtles (50 leatherbacks and one hawkbill.)

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Saving our Leatherbacks…and preserving T&T’s ecotourism industry- Trinidad Guardian newspaper

PHOTO COURTESY: G Lalsingh—SOS Tobago “A leatherback hatchling makes its way to the ocean.”

The country can expect an influx of pregnant visitors. That’s because the turtle-nesting season opened on March 1.Leatherback turtles have begun their migration onto the sands of beaches such as Maracas and Las Cuevas to lay their eggs. Ecotourism is developing in Trinidad and Tobago. A 2011 United Nations article stated that ecotourism is one of the fastest growing segments of tourism worldwide—growing at a pace of more than 20 per cent annually.Ecotourism is defined by the World Conservation Union as, “environmentally responsible travel to natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and accompanying features both past and present) that promote conservation, have a low visitor impact and provide for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local peoples.”Annually, this country attracts 60,000 visitors for turtle-watching, according to Dr Allan Bachan, executive director of the Turtle Village Trust, and it is fast becoming a facet of the country’s economic infrastructure. For ecotourism to flourish, though, Dr Bachan believes a strategic approach must be taken. “Ecotourism and special-interest niche tourism, which includes sub-sectors such as agro-tourism, adventure tourism, sports tourism, heritage tourism, and community tourism, are interrelated and will have a key role to play in Trinidad and Tobago’s strategic approach.“The future economic opportunities will largely depend on the development of a sustainable tourism industry,” he said.“External factors will have a significant influence on the future of the eco tourism industry in Trinidad and Tobago. Sound environmental management systems, globally accepted quality assurance systems, growing customer expectations and demands for better value for money, livelihood opportunities for community people are some of the major challenges currently being faced and needs to be addressed,” he added. The Tourism Development Corporation (TDC) also recognises the importance of ecotourism and is taking a strategic approach in its marketing. “To this end TDC is currently developing a niche strategy and ecotourism development has been identified as a critical element in this strategy. “There exists a heightened interest for eco activities from the European visitor, a critical market which the TDC has identified and would be targeted for increasing our visitor arrivals,” the TDC has said.Although Ginocarlo Lalsingh of Save our Sea Turtles Tobago, in his 2011 report, sees ecotourism as a tool in assisting in the protection of the endangered leatherback turtles, he believes there is still work to be done on poaching. “Therefore, the true direct and indirect economic benefits derived from turtle watching and other forms of non-consumptive use in both Trinidad and Tobago are undoubtedly an underestimate and far greater than any economic benefit derived from the harvest and sale of sea turtles and their products. “Although the harvest of sea turtles for consumption, which was a long standing tradition in T&T, has come to an end, the rampant illegal harvest (poaching) continues to put additional increased pressure on an endangered species population,” the report stated.

Here are some tips to ensure a safe turtle nesting season from Save our Sea Turtles Tobago.

• Do Not drive on the beach! Driving on the beach compacts turtle nests destroying eggs and killing hatchlings waiting to emerge. Tire ruts can also trap hatchlings, making it harder for them to reach the sea and easier for predators like birds, crabs and dogs to eat them.

• Do Not ride, sit, stand or otherwise harass nesting turtles.

• If you’re camping, try to set up your camp off the beach. Camp sites on the beach act as obstacles and prevent turtles from nesting and hatchlings from reaching the sea and leads to nest compaction in the areas they are set up in.

• Do Not light bonfires on beaches during the turtle-nesting season. The light from fires can scare off turtles attempting to nest and can cook incubating eggs and kill hatchlings waiting to emerge in the surrounding sand.

• Don’t litter and ensure that you remove your trash when you go. Many sea turtles mistake plastic and other debris for their favourite food, jellyfish, and eating plastic can lead to a slow painful death for turtles.

• Remove beach furniture and any other obstacles in the evening that may prevent turtles from nesting or create obstacles for hatchlings making their way to the sea.

• Don’t have large beach parties, limes and gatherings on beaches during the turtle nesting and hatching season (March - September), especially during hours of darkness. Large events at night can scare away nesting turtles, and large groups of people standing in an area can compact beach sand, killing eggs and hatchlings waiting to emerge.

• Build sandcastles closer to the shoreline where the tide can wash them away when you leave, or break them down.

• Some beaches are prohibited areas and require a permit to visit, (in Trinidad: Matura, Grande Riviere and Fishing Pond) so make sure and get a turtle-watching permit before you visit.

• Please follow the guidelines of the beach patrol so you have an enjoyable experience and keep it safe for turtles. Other beaches on the north and east coasts of Trinidad and those all around Tobago are not prohibited, but many are protected by community groups and game wardens—Manzanilla and Mayaro in Trinidad; Turtle Beach, Grafton Beach and Mt Irvine Back Bay in southwest Tobago and in the Charlotteville area in northeast Tobago.

• Keep your lights to a minimum and only use when necessary. Red LED flashlights and headlamps are readily available from most big hardware stores and are the most turtle-friendly. Avoid white and yellow lights.

• Put shades on your outdoor lights or turn them off if you live in or are visiting a house/villa or hotel near or on a turtle-nesting beach.

• Stay in hotels/villas that have turtle-friendly practices.

• Bright lights can scare off turtles attempting to nest and disorient nesting and hatchling turtles from reaching the sea.

• Do not use flash photography! This is generally not permitted at any time during the nesting process, as it can disorient nesting turtles and hatchlings.

It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt

"Citizenship in a Republic,"

Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

Being an ‘entrepeneur’ has been challenging but nothing in comparison to owning a retail brand. Recently I had the chance to talk with @trinbagoapproved about @espjrisland. It’s been a crazy baptism by fire; Read more about my journey over the last 2 1/2 years here: #pplspellmynamewrongmywholelife #espjr #everythingslightpepper (at

Aidan modelling Mini Trini - ESPjr Turtle Season Series 2011

available this Christmas from ESPjr (

The Turtle Season 2011 series consists of onezies and t-shirts for babies, toddlers and children ranging from newborn up to age nine. The tag lines “Mini Trini & Tobago Love” are combined with simple, contemporary designs that carry big messages.

[Photography by Peter Lim Choy] 


[Coming soon]  ESPjr x Minnebites Leatherback Sea Turtle Pouch 

Did you know that leatherbacks can dive deeper than any other sea turtle?

Perhaps it’s because of their uniquely shaped, hydrodynamic shells. This adorable, handmade leatherback turtle pouch, with his beautiful, bright green shell, is a cute little playmate and his shell can carry treasures of every kind.

The sea turtle pouch is well-constructed. The body is 100% cotton in a dark gray blend. It is filled with layers of polyester fleece, making it slightly plush. The shell is 100% cotton in a bright lime green. The side of the shell zips opens and is lined with bright green fabric. The eyes are child-safe and are sewn on. 

Zipper opening: 8”
Size of shell/bag: approx. 6” x 7”
Size of entire turtle: approx. 12” x 15”

Available in lime green and aqua.

Easy clean: Gently hand wash or spot clean. Lay flat to dry. Iron on cotton setting if needed.

♥ This Leatherback Sea Turtle Pouch was designed by Mary Pow, of
MinneBites, in collaboration with Caribbean designer Jeunanne Alkins,
of ESPjr. Using bold colors and strong graphics, Jeunanne features the
endangered leatherback turtle in her line of clothing for children. It
was great fun to bring her design to life in a pouch form. ♥

The Leatherback Turtle featured is an original trademarked character created by  ©2013 ESPjr. All rights reserved.

Pouch designs are made from original patterns by ©2013 MinneBites. All rights reserved.

Watch on

Upmarket family. TRINIDAD

UpMarket is a monthly food market that allows chefs, caterers, passionate cooks and producers to bring their specialty to the table and directly interact with the customer. We also promote local artists, business and charities.

Footage courtesy Gayelle The Channel’s Dreevay

I’m at Vamp(Mucurapo Road) today showcasing my brand of mini Caribbean T-shirt cuteness @espjrisland alongside the talented @thecoteriett team: @michagomesjewelry @ashleytpaints + @shlingshlang; and special guest @meilinginc . I’m sharing a sneak peek copy of my newest project - a kiddie picture book that’s set to launch this November! #Espjr #thecoteriett (at Vamp Boutique)


Cutiepies Nadia & Makena in ESPjr Turtle Season tees

Support local!!

ESPjr cute Kids souvenir Tshirts or Baby Rompers are now available at Purple Turtle in Westmall, Rainy Days in Ellerslie Plaza and in the online boutique Ah Piece. (Tobago locations soon come!) The designs are available as regular and sleeveless onezies for babies up to age 1/2 and tshirts for children up to age 7.

All styles are available in 4 different colour prints:

* hot pink 
* orange 
* lime green 
* aqua

Check us out on facebook:


Turtle Season Series 2011 - * Tobago Love * Kids T-shirts

available this Christmas from ESPjr (

The Turtle Season 2011 series consists of onezies and t-shirts for babies, toddlers and children ranging from newborn up to age nine. The tag lines “Mini Trini & Tobago Love” are combined with simple, contemporary designs that carry big messages.

New to our @espjrisland retailer list > The M store at Piarco Airport —- •drumroll• We’re happy to share some great news - @espjrisland tees are now available in the airport at The M store!!! Huge thank you to everyone that helped us make it happen! Happy Monday 😄 #espjr #islandbabies #happiestbrandalive #supportlocal #trinidad #minitrini #tobagolove #snowcone #crab #turtle #pierrotgrenade (at