Dogs eat eggs from sea turtle nest

POSTED: 06/8/12 12:48 PM

St. Maarten – Guana Bay beach has been recorded as the first sea turtle nesting site that’s been discovered this year. The site was reported to the Nature Foundation recently. Staffers have since visited the site and confirmed that a leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelyscoriacea) had successfully laid a nest at the site. Measurements were taken and the nest was marked. The Nature Foundation will continuously monitor the nest for how it is developing.
The successful nest could be laid with the assistance of volunteers from the RBC Bank who were able to clean the beach of sea grass and plastic debris during a beach clean-up some weeks ago. Nesting sea turtle females probably attempted to nest on the beach but aborted laying due to the high amount of sargassum sea grass on the beach. The beach environment is now much more suitable for nesting.
Foundation staffers also found indications that part of the nest was dug up by what appeared to be dogs. The team found leatherback eggs and egg yolks broken open and dog prints were noticed in the nest.
“The Nature Foundation would like to encourage pet owners to keep their dogs on the leash when they walk with them during sea turtle nesting season to avoid nest being dug up or disturbed,” a release states.
Foundation staffers also noticed evidence of beach bonfires. The Fire Department has issued numerous warnings against the practice of beach bonfires during turtle nesting season and will not be issuing permits for beach bonfires until October. If violators are caught there may be legal consequences for them.
St. Maarten is one of the few countries or territories in the Caribbean where the leatherback sea turtle lays its eggs. Turtles are officially protected by law and their disturbance may result in fines and incarceration.

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