International — 02 August 2013 — by Rochelle Gillett
Cleanup campaign for turtle nesting beach in Gales Point

Different species of turtles nest on the beach between April and November

There are at least three different types of turtles in our country — the loggerhead, the leather back, and the green turtle. The nesting season for these turtles is between the months of April and November, and they are very cautious and selective about where they lay their eggs. Naturally, therefore, they’ve typically chosen to nest on the pristine beaches of the south, in particular the shore of Gales Point.

As of late, however, debris of varying types and sizes have been washing up on the beach of Gales Point, and this has been a disruption to the nesting practices of the turtles.

But a group spearheaded by Luz Hunter, the lecturer for the Tourism course at the ITVET, working alongside a group from Mary Mount College in Maryland, as well as the Gales Point Youth Group, headed by Kevin Andrewin, and a group of very motivated and concerned turtle lovers, have come together for a common purpose — to clean up the beaches of Gales Point, to ensure the turtles have a next to perfect environment to lay their eggs.

On July 20, the group set out to clean up the beach in Gales Point, and although they only managed to remove about 25% of the debris that was on the beach, that in itself was a major accomplishment for the group.

The beach proved to be more debris-ridden than was expected, but their effort is a four-month venture, and their next cleanup is scheduled for August 24, 2013. This will continue and lead right up to the month of November, when the nesting season starts to draw to a close.

The group is proud of the effort made and what was accomplished so far for the first session. Turtles use the same nesting grounds each year, and they can lay eggs as many as three or four times for the year. Each nest comprises of 100 to 150 eggs, but when those eggs hatch, only about 1/10 of the emerging turtles survive to the mature age of 25 years, and can live up to the ripe old age of 150 years.

Should anyone wish to participate in the cleanup effort, Liz Hunter can be contacted at cell phone #635-6012.

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