posted on October 08, 2015 16:58
We are happy to report that our hawksbill turtles broke the record for the most nests laid in a single season in the last 16 years of the project! The previous record from 2014 of 475 nests was topped on September 24th, and as of October 6th we already have 506 nests! This is a significant increase since the first year of the project in 2000 where we recorded 154 nests. We are delighted to see the population bounce back, although there are many factors at play here (i.e. conditions 25-30 years ago when some of these nesting females were born on the beaches of the Pearl Cays, regional protection laws, critically endangered classification of the species, etc.). In any case, this is a win not only for WCS Nicaragua but also for local communities, and all communities in regional countries that host these turtles during various life phases.
Other project updates: over 22,000 hatchlings are estimated to have gone to sea from the 160 odd nests that we have excavated so far in 2015. We are also experiencing an increase in donations of turtles for the tag and release program in comparison to last year (total: 17), with 32 individuals. We still struggle with poaching in the cays, especially on Buttonwood, Columbilla and Wild Cane where there are no watchmen and groups of turtle fishermen spend a number of nights on the cays.