First Sea Turtle Nest for 2012 season recorded

Some of the eggs eaten by dogs

The Nature Foundation recorded the first sea turtle nest on St. Maarten for the 2012 Sea Turtle Nesting season.


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Nature Foundation staff received a call concerning what was apparently a sea turtle nest on Guana Bay beach. Upon arrival on the beach staff confirmed that a nest was successfully laid by a leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) at a good location on the beach. Measurements were taken and the nest was marked. The Nature Foundation will continuously monitor the nest for how it is developing.

The successful nest could be laid with the assistance of volunteers from the RBC Bank who were able to clean the beach of sea grass and plastic debris during a beach clean-up some weeks ago. Nesting sea turtle females probably attempted to nest on the beach but aborted laying due to the high amount of sargassum sea grass on the beach. Now the beach environment is much more suitable for nesting.

The Foundation did notice that a part of the nest was dug up by what appeared to be dogs. Leatherback eggs and egg yolks were noticed broken open and dog prints were noticed in the nest. The Nature Foundation would like to encourage pet owners to keep their dogs on the leash when they walk with them during sea turtle nesting season to avoid nest being dug up or disturbed.

The Foundation also noticed evidence again of beach bonfires. The Fire department has issued numerous warnings against the practice of beach bonfires during turtle nesting season and will not be issuing permits for beach bonfires until October. If violators are caught there may be legal consequences for them.

St. Maarten is one of the few countries or territories in the Caribbean where the leatherback sea turtle lays its eggs. Turtles are officially protected by law and their disturbance may result in fines and incarceration.


As part of the Project Approach program, students the Hillside Christian School group 8A class, visited the Verde SXM dump site in Grand Caye Cul-de-Sac on Thursday, June 07, 2012. "During their tour of the site the pupils learned about the importance of recycling and how the deferent materials are being parceled and recycled," said teacher Merlyn Williams. In photo teachers Marva Sam, (back row left), Merlyn Williams (front row right) a parent Mrs. Jeffers (center) employees of Verde SXM (back row) and students of the Hillside Christian School.