Hol Chan celebrates ‘World Turtle Day’
Friday, May 26th, 2017
In an effort to raise awareness on turtle conservation, May 23rd is celebrated as ‘World Turtle Day’. Sea turtle nesting season runs May through September in Belize, and Hol Chan Marine Reserve’s Ambergris Caye Marine Turtle Program (ACMTP) celebrated the significance of that day, by searching for new turtle nests.
After visiting key nesting areas, biologists at Hol Chan were able to find 10 additional turtle nests, bringing the season’s total count to 14 so far. As Hol Chan predicts a normal nesting season this year, they still implore the public to protect our loggerhead, green, and hawksbill turtles.
Residents/visitors are advised to: safeguard nesting females and their hatchlings for the duration of the season; properly dispose of the debris abandoned on the beach; refrain from making sand castles or leaving behind any objects that may hinder the turtle’s access to and from the ocean; and to not illuminate areas near the beach. Artificial light from beachfront homes, streetlights and even flashlights can attract the hatchlings away from the safety of the water and lead them to their deaths.
In Belize, sea turtles have been a protected species since 1993, and the disturbing of turtle nests or possession of sea turtles is illegal. The selling or trafficking of any sea turtle can constitute an infraction that can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year’s imprisonment.
In the meantime, ACMTP will continue to monitor the beaches, and nesting sites. Everyone is encouraged to practice caution when traveling the beach, as well as report stranded hatchlings, suspected turtle nests or turtle crawls along the beach to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve Office at 226-2247. For more information on the program, please visit their Facebook page at: Ambergris Caye Marine Turtle Program.
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