Leatherback turtle in the ocean


Over the past few centuries, sea turtles have been constantly sought after for their meat, eggs and shells. This hunt has caused a drastic depletion in the numbers of this critically endangered species that grace the shores of Barbados at two (2) to three (3) year intervals for nesting purposes. Hawksbill turtles nest on the west and south coasts of the island where waters are peaceful while Leatherback turtles can be found nesting on the island's north-east coast where wave activity is somewhat aggressive. An increase in development along Barbados' coastlines has also played its part in the increased threat of these turtles. There has even been sightings of green turtles nesting on Barbados' south coast shores.


Without human interference, the Hawksbill turtle can live for decades and throughout this period, has the ability to reproduce many times over. Organisations such as the Barbados Sea Turtle Project play an integral role in the protection of this endangered species. One sure way is by ensuring that hatchlings are not exposed to lights over too long a period of time as this causes disorientation and they can easily lose their way.


The Barbados Sea Turtle Project

The vision of the Barbados Sea Turtle Project (University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus) is to restore local marine turtle populations to levels at which they can fulfill their ecological roles while still providing opportunities for sustainable use by the people of Barbados, and to support similar efforts in other countries of the Caribbean.


Their mission is to recover marine turtle populations through the use of scientifically-sound conservation measures and monitoring programmes, and through the development and implementation of training, education and public awareness tools and activities that encourage the support and active participation of stakeholders.


The Barbados Sea Turtle Project emphasizes partnerships in achieving their goals. These partnerships are evident both at the national level (Government, non-governmental organizations and the tourism sector) and at the international level where the Project serves as the focal point for WIDECAST in Barbados, offering regional training workshops, maintaining a regional marine turtle tagging centre, and encouraging research and conservation in countries that share management responsibilities for our migratory sea turtle populations.


Information on the Barbados Sea Turtle Project was sourced directly from their website.


Concerns Voiced Over the Feeding of Sea Turtles in Barbados

Concern has been expressed about the feeding of sea turtles in Barbados' waters. Though this exercise is quite fascinating for both tourists and locals alike, there is a concern that the fish fed to Green turtles is not the best diet for this particular species. Another concern that has been voiced is the practice of 'teaching' turtles to come towards boat engines as essentially this is what is being done when they are being fed in this manner. This could very well become a learned habit and may very well cause them great harm should they start to swim out to powered boats in anticipation of being fed and end up being tangled.


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