Turtle Watching

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Nevis Air and Sea Ports Authority supports the preservation of Sea Turtles.  You can help to protect them by following these simple guidelines.

Turtle Facts

  • All species of sea turtle are endangered and need our protection.
  • Turtles breathe air just like us, which means they can drown if they are prevented from reaching the surface of the sea.
  • Litter is dangerous, especially plastic bags which can be mistaken for jellyfish – a favourite turtle food.
  • Turtles remain in the same area for years and, as adults, return to the same nesting area year after year. If a nesting colony is destroyed, the turtles may never return.

On the Beach

During breeding seasons, some special considerations apply to turtle nesting beaches.

  • Avoid damage to incubating nests.  Driving on turtle nesting beaches is prohibited.  Also, these beaches should not be used for camp fires or barbecues.
  • Do not leave large items (such as chairs, umbrellas, coolers, water sports vehicles) on nesting beaches at night – these can obstruct a turtle’s path and prevent egg-laying. 
  • Keep pets, especially dogs, away as they can endanger eggs and hatchlings.
  • Keep beach lighting to a minimum – artificial lighting disorients turtles.
  • Shield or switch off lighting which is visible from the beach.

 

Watching Nesting Turtles

Seeing an adult turtle come on shore to lay her eggs is an unforgettable experience. However, on-land turtles are very vulnerable and if startled, a female turtle may return to the sea before her eggs can be successfully laid.

Please follow these simple rules when watching nesting turtles.

  • Keep disturbance to a minimum – stay quiet and move around slowly.
  • Do not approach turtles as they arrive from the sea. They are easily frightened off.
  • Turtles that have not yet laid their eggs must be left alone.
  • Make minimum use of flashlights; never shine lights directly into a turtle’s face.
  • Try not to “trap” turtles – approach from behind and keep low to the ground.
  • Move away if the turtle shows signs of distress.
  • Turtle eggs and hatchlings should be left undisturbed.
  • Consider limiting viewing to 30 minutes at a time.