In 2007 the first ongoing survey of mainland nesting beaches was conducted by the
Environmental Awareness Group with invaluable guidance from WIDECAST and the Jumby
Bay Hawksbill Project team. The beach survey represented one part of a comprehensive
turtle conservation effort that included public outreach and education, and management
interventions for sea turtle conservation. The purpose of this survey was to better
understand the turtles themselves and how widespread the nesting population was,
and will continue over the years collecting and compiling data.
Spearheaded by Mykl Clovis Fuller, her team of trained conservationists and volunteers
is able to monitor nesting activity of some 5 significant sites around Antigua during
the key nesting months of March to November. They also try to tag every new nesting
turtle so they can be identified upon return in later years.
All sea turtles species found in the Caribbean are listed as endangered by the International
Union for the Conservation of Nature. Antigua and Barbuda boasts three nesting species
of sea turtle: Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), Green (Chelonia mydas), and Leatherback
(Dermochelys coriacea) as well as a visiting species sometimes found travelling/feeding
in our waters, the Loggerhead (Caretta caretta).
The decline of sea turtles has been rapid and significant in the past few hundred
years. This is mostly due to over-harvesting of the turtles and their nests (for
food and jewelry made from the shells of some), increased boat strikes/activity,
and pollution of the sea by humans. At this point the common statistic for survival
among hatchlings is that only ONE in a thousand baby turtles survive to be an adult
and reproduce. As it takes most sea turtles up to twenty years (at least)to be sexually
mature, most turtles are unable to make it to adulthood with all the threats they
face—both natural and manmade. By keeping the oceans and beaches safe for turtles,
other marine life and future generations also benefit. If the most important turtle
habitats can be identified and protected, then the species will have a much greater
chance for survival.
Turtles are known as an indicator species and provide great insight into what is
happening with other marine life. Their feeding habits are an important part of maintaining
a balanced ecosystem in and around our waters, and their nests (leftover eggshells
and un-hatched eggs)even provide vital nutrients for the plant life growing on our
beaches. If sea turtles were to disappear completely, many other marine species and
habitats could be negatively affected.
You can do this online on the WIDECAST site. If you indicate "EAG" in the "special
instructions", the donation will be specifically used to help conserve sea turtles
in Antigua and Barbuda. Thanks so much!
If you wish to make a donation to sea turtle conservation, we would be most grateful.
The EAG wishes to thank Fauna and Flora International and the UK Government (DEFRA)
for their generous support for this project.
The EAG also wishes to thank the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Network (WIDECAST) and
the Jumby Bay Hawksbill Project for their invaluable support for this project.
Sea turtle conservation efforts and education will continue long into Antigua’s future
thanks to help of previously mentioned organizations and the continued effort of
the EAG’s trained conservationists. New programs are being enacted to educate hotel
operators and their guests, as some hotel beaches do see quite a bit of nesting activity
in the season. There are also outreach programs being developed for schools and children’s
summer camps to teach Antigua’s younger generation how important sea turtles really
While it is NOT encouraged that people go out seeking to discover nesting turtles
on their own in the spring/summer months, the EAG does conduct some supervised turtle
watches—led by trained volunteer conservation guides—on the mainland and to one of
our offshore islands from June to November. These watches are specifically for the
education of locals and tourists, and carried out with the help and cooperation of
the Jumby Bay Hawksbill Project team and EAG coordinators. To receive more information
about sea turtles and turtle watching trips, or to make a direct donation to our
sea turtle conservation efforts, please contact our office (268-462-6236)or email
the EAG (firstname.lastname@example.org) for assistance.
To keep up on seasonal updates of sea turtle activity and events, you can also follow
the ‘Environmental Awareness Group’ and ‘Jumby Bay Hawksbill Project’ on Facebook