Wednesday 28 October, 2020

WATCH: Baby turtles head to sea after hatching on Cemetery Beach

It was an evening like none other when beach-goers at Cemetary Beach in West Bay witnessed hundreds of sea turtle hatchlings make their way into the water.

The event took place last week Sunday September 20 at this around 5:45pm. 

"Watching them was an amazing!" Said one of the lucky beachgoers who video'd the event.

"We are experiencing a record year for turtle nests and the season is not yet over!" Say representatives from the Cayman Islands Department of the Environment (DoE).

"Our Turtle Team excavates a nest about 5 days after it hatches just to make sure that the babies have enough time to leave," they explain. 

Although the increase in nesting is very promising, there are still a number of preventable threats for turtles, including artificial lighting that, at night during a natural emergence, lures babies away from the relative safety of the sea, to the dangers of pools, roads, and death.

Lighting near the shore can cause hatchlings to become disoriented and wander inland, where they often die of dehydration or predation. Hatchlings, scientists believe, have an innate instinct that leads them in the brightest direction, which is normally moonlight reflecting off of the ocean. Excess lighting from the nearshore buildings and streets draw hatchlings toward land, where they may be eaten, run over, or drown swimming pools. 

The DoE commends properties that are turtle champions and have changed their lighting to turtle friendly lights. The lighting is not only very beautiful, but also ensures that these babies follow their natural path to the sea and, hopefully, grow big enough to one day come back to Cayman's shores and nest.

If you see a turtle nest, send a WhatsApp message with locations and photos to the Turtle Hotline: 345-938-6378. If you see someone poaching or interfering with turtles, contact Conservation Officers at 345-916-4271 or 911.

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