Turtle Watching

Turtle Watching

Our shores have become two of the world’s most important nesting grounds especially for the Leatherback turtles.  Leatherbacks are the largest turtles on earth and can reach up to eight feet long and weigh more than 2,000 pounds. They can live up to 45 years. Once prevalent in every ocean except the Arctic and Antarctic, the leatherback population has declined dramatically in many parts of the world.  Female hatchlings that make it to the sea will roam the oceans until they reach sexual maturity. Then they return to the same nesting areas to produce their own offspring. Males, however, spend the rest of their lives at sea.

Two of the main nesting beaches in Trinidad are the protected Matura/Orosco Bay run by Nature Seekers and Grande Riviere managed by the Grande Rivière Nature Tour Guide Association, and Stonehaven and Turtle/Courland beaches protected by the SOS (Save our Sea Turtles) group in Tobago.  The Turtle Village Trust is the umbrella body for the islands’ these leading turtle conservation groups along with the Matura to Matelot (M2M) Network and the Fishing Pond Turtle Conservation Group.   These beaches are restricted to the general public to assist with the elimination and reduction in poaching, permits are required to visit during the nesting season at various Forestry offices.  These areas and others all have community led conservation groups with trained tour guides that are on hand nightly to safe guard the turtles, record sightings and nests as well as describe the full nesting process and the history of turtles while persons witness this remarkable sight.

Here are some tips to follow during the nesting season:

  • Don’t visit nesting beach alone, ensure you have a permit and/or tour guide with you at all times
  • Do not drive on nesting beaches
  • No loud noises at nesting beaches
  • Flashlights and flash photography are prohibited unless otherwise instructed by a tour guide
  • Keep a safe distance from the laying turtle
  • Wear comfortable shoes, and long clothing – some beaches are long and there may be a walk to a nesting turtle
  • Do not leave trash on the beach
  • Do not pick up hatchlings or hinder their progress to the sea unless advised by a tour guide

Turtle watching can be done at the following areas with tour guides:

Turtle Watching Beaches

  • Matura Beach/Orosco Bay – Nature Seekers Tel: 668-7337  Email: natureseekers@gmail.com
  • Grande Riviere – Grande Riviere Tour Guide Association Tel: 670-2781  Email: gmtga@gmail.com
  • Fishing Pond – Fishing Pond Turtle Conservation Group  Tel: 361-4712  Email: fpondtcg@gmail.com
  • M2M Network – SAD for Toco   Tel: 670-3283/321  Email: tocobitts@tstt.net.tt
  • Las Cuevas – Las Cuevas Eco-friendly Association  Tel:309-0113
  • Stonehaven Bay – SOS Tobago  Tel: 328-7351   Email: info@sos-tobago.org
  • Turtle Beach – SOS Tobago  Tel: 328-7351    Email: info@sos-tobago.org

 

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