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.)