The turtle nesting season is well into its third month here on Ambergris Caye, Belize, running from May to November. One conservation group that has been arduously working in monitoring the nesting and protecting the turtle population in the area is the Ambergris Caye Marine Turtle Project.
At the start of the nesting season, three nests were found at the Robles and Rocky Point nesting Beaches. This week a few nests had to be relocated to higher grounds due to the high surf; in normal situations these nests would have a lesser rate of survival. Weekly field monitoring by the Turtle Program helps to ensure a higher rate of survival of the fragile hatchlings.
Newly laid loggerhead nest.
A total of 55 turtle nests have been recorded up to date in Ambergris Caye for 2013. Two nests have hatched successfully and two were spoiled by Tropical Depression 2 earlier in the hurricane season.
The Ambergris Caye Marine Turtle Project is a research initiative to document current turtle nesting patterns and behavior; marine turtle density in the surrounding waters of the island; document turtle strandings and rehabilitate injured turtles; assess threats and implement conservation initiatives.
The Ambergris Caye Marine Turtle Project is managed and implemented by marine biologists that work on the marine protected areas of Ambergris Caye. The project started in 2007 by formalizing and recording marine turtle stranding data and rehabilitation. In 2009 Turtle nesting monitoring and research was initiated on the beaches of North Ambergris Caye. In 2011 in-water turtle density surveys were conducted.
First hatchlings of the 2013 season. Few stragglers did not make it out of the nest and were given a little help.
The hardworking staff of the Marine Turtle Project asks that people exercise caution when on the beach in Northern Ambergris Caye. They encourage all to reduce the use of lights on the beach were possible and exercise caution when traveling using motorized vehicles along the beach. Sea turtles are ecologically important and have great importance for our tourism industry. Please do not disturb anything that you suspect is a turtle nest. Report all suspected nests or sea turtle crawls to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve office 226-2247.
For More Information, visit the Ambergris Caye Marine Turtle Project Facebook Page
Turtle monitoring field crew trekking through shallow lagoon to get to Robles Beach. Rough seas push the crew to access the turtle nesting beach through the Cantenah Lagoon.
Locating the nest of a large Logger Head turtle crawl.
Inspecting nests after hatching to quantify hatching success rate.