HONDURAS: AUGUST 1 - NOVEMBER 1, 2016
The beaches on the island of Utila, the smallest of the Honduras’ Bay Islands, are home to the nesting sites of several endangered sea turtles including the hawksbill, green, and loggerhead species. These sea turtles have roamed the oceans for over 90 million years, but now they desperately need our help.
Pollution, poaching and accidental drownings in fishing gear have contributed to rapid population depletion and there is no end in sight. In an effort to ensure that female sea turtles are not disturbed while nesting and that their nests are not looted by poachers, who steal and sell the eggs, Sea Shepherd volunteers will patrol the beaches nightly, defending these peaceful creatures from August through November.
How We Will Help
Throughout the night, patrols will search for fresh turtle tracks. When a set of tracks is found, volunteers follow them to locate the pregnant turtle, which has emerged from the ocean with the intent of “nesting.” Once she settles on a location, she will dig the hole and begin dropping eggs into the nest. During this time, the female turtle goes into a trance-like state, thereby allowing the volunteers to photograph, measure, and tag the female as well as count the eggs.
When the female has finished laying the eggs and covers up the nest, the volunteers will geo-tag the location for future reference and after the mother returns to the ocean, the volunteers will cover all tracks leading to and from the nest. This ensures poachers have no idea where the nests are and do not know where to dig for eggs.
After the turtles hatch (50-60 days after nesting), volunteers will stand watch over the nests to make sure that poachers do not steal the baby turtles (hatchlings), and to assist disoriented hatchlings, thereby allowing them the best opportunity to safely make it into the ocean.