STENAPA has been quite busy with Statia’s sea turtles. A few weeks after the first hawksbill nesting event on Oranjebaai, the program received a call that the nest was accidentally dug up.  Luckily no eggs were destroyed and the nest was relocated to Zeelandia Bay by Sea Turtle Program Coordinator, Jessica Berkel. Although the nest should be safer on that beach, travelling with sensitive eggs takes a lot of time and care. She hopes the development of the eggs was not severely affected. This disturbance of the nest would likely not have occurred if the beach was properly named as a sea turtle beach, where digging and other harmful activities would have been prohibited. 

In February, hawksbill hatchlings crawled from this very beach toward a street light instead of the ocean. The turtles use the glare of the moon or sun on the water to determine the direction of the water. A red streetlight at this location will allow turtles as well as people to travel safely. 

On Friday morning an unknown nest emerged around 7 am and was spotted by the Botanical Garden Ranger, Ervin Arnaud. 65 live hawksbill turtles were able to successfully make it to the water. The sand was already too hot for them to traverse by 8 am, so the baby turtles were released in a shaded portion of the beach. This is a very small beach that is used by many persons. 

On top of everything else, lately, someone has been removing sand for construction purposes from this area. The removal of sand threatens the healthy development and hatching of Statia’s sea turtle nests as it changes the shape and behaviour of our beaches. On the other side of the island, large boulders are now restricting the access of trucks to Zeelandia, the main turtle nesting beach where persons have been removing sand by the truckload. STENAPA asks that the public be aware of the importance of your beaches to the island’s marine life and to do their part to make sure we can all benefit.

Effect of artificial light on baby turtles: