LEATHERBACK SEA TURTLE HATCHLINGS AT SANDALSFriday 22nd June 2012
Guests at Sandals Grande Antigua eagerly anticipate the emergence of the hatchlings.
More than forty guests from Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa were treated to something truly special when they witnessed the emergence of leatherback sea turtle hatchlings at Dickenson Bay Beach yesterday.
It had been more than 60 days since the imposing leatherback sea turtle affectionately known as ‘Lady Sandy’ made her way to Dickenson Bay shores to hatch approximately 100 eggs. In the wee hours of the morning on Thursday, June 21, approximately 20 hatchlings came out to the delight of onlookers.
This was followed by a nest excavation in which guests and staff members had the opportunity to guide the hatchlings. “It was an incredible once in a lifetime experience and I know that guests were thrilled to be a part of it,” said an ecstatic Shernell Connor who is the Director of Guest Services at Sandals Grande Antigua.
Thanks to the assistance of the Environmental Awareness Group’s Antigua Sea Turtle Conservation Project, another 27 healthy hatchlings emerged from the sand and made their way successfully to the sea.
Coordinator of the EAG’s Antigua Sea Turtle Conservation Project Mykl Clovis Fuller explained the purpose of the nest excavation. “We want to determine how successful the nesting was so that we can extract data pertaining to the fertilized and non-fertilized eggs and in this case, approximately 50% of the eggs were viable, which is the norm for this critically endangered species,” commented Clovis Fuller.
She also commended Sandals Grande Antigua’s Environment Health and Safety Manager Andrea Marshall for contacting the EAG Sea Turtle Conservation Project as soon as ‘Lady Sandy’ came to shore. “We are very happy that Sandals Grande Antigua took this seriously and followed all of the steps to ensure that the hatchlings were protected and respected,” said Clovis Fuller.
|“Wake up’: A leatherback sea turtle emerges from the sand.
||‘Bon voyage’: Two leatherback sea turtles make their way into the sea after a successful nest excavation.
This is the ending of the nesting season for leatherback sea turtles and there are a select number of beaches that they choose to nest on in Antigua and Barbuda. In fact, four years ago, a leatherback sea turtle came to Dickenson Bay so it is highly likely that it was ‘Lady Sandy’ since these turtles are very loyal creatures. Leatherbacks are the largest of all the turtle species and the females normally nest every two to three years. Anyone who sees a leatherback sea turtle come to shore is encouraged to call 720-6955.
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