Probably the most thrilling issues about going to Saona Island within the Dominican Republic is having the uncommon likelihood to truly observe a sea turtle in individual! While you see one, you understand you’re looking at a contemporary creature that has retained the options of way more historical creature. In actual fact, some say that sea turtles remind them of dinosaurs. In the event you journey to Punta Cana, do not miss this uncommon alternative.

4 species of enormous sea turtles nest on Saona Island, totally on the south facet. These embrace:

1. Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)

2. Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)

3. Logger-head Turtle (Caretta caretta)

4. Inexperienced Turtle (Chelonia mydas)

All 4 species are listed as endangered by the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature (ICUN). In actual fact, each the hawksbill turtle and the leatherback turtle are listed as critically endangered which makes them among the many most endangered animals on Earth. In fact, this makes seeing one much more treasured.

When a feminine sea turtle lays her eggs, she strikes out of the water and onto the seaside. This normally happens at evening. She digs a gap together with her flippers and lays about 100-150 delicate however leathery cream coloured eggs. After she lays them, she covers them again up evenly with sand. Remember that if she buries them too far, they will not get the oxygen they want and can die. She repeats this course of 3 – 10 instances throughout a nesting season, returning to the identical seaside to take action (besides the leatherback turtle). The gestation interval is anyplace from 60 – 80 days, relying on the species of turtle, the temperature, and the way deeply they’re buried.

When the infant turtles hatch out they scamper out to sea. If they will make it to the mangroves, they are going to be a lot safer and have a significantly better likelihood of creating it to maturity. Nevertheless, each the eggs and the hatchlings are extraordinarily weak to predation. Birds, crabs, and lizards all like to eat them. Though they’re protected underneath the regulation, there are additionally human turtle poachers who steal the eggs and the hatchlings. The eggs are thought-about a delicacy by some and the tortoise shell and grownup turtle meat is extremely prized by some as nicely. Wave motion may also wash the eggs out to sea earlier than they hatch or cowl them too deeply within the sand for them to outlive and hatch. For all of those causes, solely about 1 in 10,000 sea turtles really make it to maturity.

Conservationists are working laborious to attempt to save these lovely creatures. Probably the most intense conservation efforts on Saona Island are for the hawksbill turtle. Hawksbill turtles journey 1000’s of miles and if any a part of their journey takes them to a spot the place they’re killed or wounded, this may imply the species will not survive.To this finish, scientists have to know higher the place these turtles go after they lay their eggs on Saona Island. To trace them, they quickly detain a number of the feminine hawksbills in a picket corral after they lay their eggs and glue a satellite tv for pc transmitter to her shell. This doesn’t hurt the turtle however it does enable scientists to trace the place she goes.

There’s a coronary heart warming story to inform in regards to the tagged hawksbill turtles. One of many very first ones to be tagged with a radio transmitter was named after Saona Island. Nevertheless, it was not named “Saona.” As an alternative, it was given the identify the pre-Columbian indigenous Taino folks known as the island, “Adamanay.” The final time I checked, Adamanay had traveled a complete of 1716 miles. After laying her eggs, she had traveled southwest and from her sign was identified to be foraging off the coast of Nicaragua. In fact, if she survives she is going to return to the identical seaside on Saona Island within the Dominican Republic to put her eggs once more. Scientists and others are fairly keen on Adamanay and her different radio tagged sisters.

The native folks have gotten in on the ocean turtle conservation motion too. There’s a small village of 300 – 400 folks on the southwestern shore of Saona Island. The varsity kids of the village and a number of the adults have change into concerned within the undertaking and it’s partially funded by an area eco-tour operator (see beneath) who runs the most well-liked Punta Cana tour to Saona Island. In the event you go on this tour, you get to see how the ocean turtle conservation undertaking operates, meet a number of the kids concerned, and if you’re actually fortunate you get to see a number of the child sea turtles which might be solely 1-Three days previous. These child turtles are so cute you’ll have the urge to select them up and cuddle them like kittens. They are going to actually make you smile rather a lot each time you consider them.

This sea turtle conservation undertaking includes amassing a number of the eggs proper after they’re laid. They’re positioned in coolers and the precise spot on the seaside the place they’re collected and the time is recorded. They’re stored within the coolers till they hatch (60 – 80 days) after which for Three extra days so the infant turtles have an opportunity to get a little bit stronger. Then they’re taken again to the identical spot on the seaside and launched. Doing issues on this means raises their probabilities of survival from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 3 – big enchancment would not you say?! The folks concerned on this undertaking are all superb people who find themselves completely devoted to the undertaking and to the survival of those majestic creatures.

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