Mother Nature is a busy lady on Aruba these days, overseeing the nests currently being laid this season. All sea turtles are endangered worldwide, and Aruba’s shores have become a favorite nesting place for the Leatherback, Hawksbill, Green, and Loggerhead species. Fundashon Turtugaruba, established in 2003 and a member of the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network, is the local foundation that protects the four endangered species of sea turtles nesting on Aruba. These turtles invariably return to their natal beach to lay their eggs, and Turtugaruba volunteers know exactly where to patrol in order to spot, monitor, and protect turtle nests on the Island, primarily at Eagle Beach, Boca Grandi, and Arikok National Park. Check out this heartwarming video of little Leatherback sea turtle hatchlings breaking out of their shell and finding their way to sea!
Visitors to our island can witness both the laying and hatching of eggs all along our west coast, particularly in the low-rise hotel area along Eagle Beach. In 2012, Palm Beach also welcomed a few nests, which has not been a common occurrence over the past few years.
Nesting season runs March through September, with hatching occurring May through November. Volunteers from Turtugaruba devote many hours to educating the community, as well as watching over and protecting the nests during the season. Here are a few tips they share to protect our sea turtles:
Lights Out for Turtles
Nighttime activities and artificial lighting may deter adult females from nesting or disorient emerging hatchlings, leading them inland where they die of dehydration or are crushed by cars. So PLEASE keep all lights off, including flashlights, flash photography, and video equipment.
Leatherback hatchlings at Eagle Beach
Do Not Drive or Litter on Beaches
Vehicles compact sand and make it difficult for turtles to dig into or out of the sand. Balloons, plastic bags, and other non-degradable litter can kill sea turtles that mistake it for food.
Hatchlings stuck in a jar
Remove Obstacles from the Beach
Obstacles such as beach furniture or recreational equipment may cause nesting females to abort their nesting attempt or may even trap nesting females or hatchlings.
Nesting Females and Hatchlings
Watch a nesting turtle from a distance. Turtles are very shy and will easily leave without nesting. Leave hatchlings in their nest; they will exit the nest when they are ready. Let them crawl to the water on their own, allowing them to imprint on their home beach.
Two little hatchlings making their imprints on their natal beach
For more information on what to do when you see a sea turtle hatching, or when you stumble upon a nest call TURTUGA ARUBA +297 5929393. Check out their Facebook page to stay updated!