Piles of garbage at a turtle nesting site  Local function

Piles of garbage at a turtle nesting site Local function

BEFORE last Saturday, June 18, visitors to Las Cuevas did not know that sea turtles emerge every night during the nesting season.

They didn’t know that young people were emerging from the sand along the west side of the beach to throw themselves on the waves. They had no idea that part of the beach was full of human dangers because it was far from such a busy swimming pool near the built facility.

The NGO Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) has always been on the lookout to assist in matters affecting the overall health of the various environments in Trinidad and Tobago and the surrounding area, responding immediately to Las Cuevas Eco-friendly. An association that organizes urgent beach cleaning. Due to the turtle nesting season, FFOS did not hesitate to help with the coordination and sponsorship of the event.

While handing out bags and directing volunteers in tandem with Las Cuevas, Kyrie Roopsingh of FFOS commented on the need for morning activities.

“When we were approached by the Las Cuevas Eco-friendly Association, our Company Secretary Gary Aboud was in Damien’s Bay, another turtle nesting ground. He collected over 40 large bags of waste consisting of plastics and other non-biodegradable items.

“He knew about the risks to our ecologically sensitive species in such an exposed environment, so he immediately joined the cleaning initiative. We have involved HADCO, EMA I Care and the Ministry of Tourism to help us in this crucial nesting time. We have called for volunteers to come to Las Cuevas and exercise their civic responsibility to protect our marine species and their habitats. “

“It’s all about individuals using the beach and showing pride and not leaving traces that negatively affect the environment.”

According to visitor polls, Las Cuevas is the best rated beach and one of the most popular. He received Blue Flag certification from the international Blue Flag jury, a globally recognized environmental award.

Among these criteria, the facility is responsible for ensuring that nearby habitats, such as leatherette nesting grounds, are protected and managed in a sustainable manner.

Unfortunately, as evidenced by the amount of garbage collected along the western part of the beach, where sea turtles come to nest, the lack of maintenance has led to the need for voluntary beach cleaning.

Among the tons of waste collected over the tide were plastic bags, plastic bottles, glass bottles, styrotex boxes, plates and cups, slippers and shoes, face masks, even a five-dollar bill.

Volunteers such as tourist and conservationist Ashelle Edwards worked among the lined vegetation where most of the waste got stuck.

“I am very worried when we see a lot of garbage on the hiking trails and similar on our beaches. When I was invited to this beach cleaning, I knew this was an important time to nest and hatch, and I was happy to help provide a safe environment for turtles to get and nest. and not suffocate with plastic or get trapped in it. “

“It’s a really nice way to get back to nature because it gives us so much in its beauty and all its other resources.”

The Las Cuevas Eco-friendly Association is a community-based NGO that works tirelessly to protect the integrity of the beach, with a special focus on the western part, where sea turtles nest. According to association president Arlene Williams, the place was an incubator for four of the five sea turtle species that visit the north coast each year.

“We monitor, tag and try to protect turtles every night from March 1st to August 31st of the year. We saw the leatherback, the green hawk, the common hawk and the common hawk. “

“On this beach it was a busy season for leather. Just last night, a total of 673 hatched chicks went to sea and 35 leatherbacks nested on the beach. Before Covid-19 and the effects of climate change, many turtles did not nest during the month of March, when our season usually begins. We used to have only ten to 12 turtles. “

“However, in March this year we recorded over 40 arriving turtles. Since then, thousands of young have hatched every night.” This explains how many turtles soon nested. We have been nesting furs here since February. “

“Given the amount of garbage we collect here today, you can see how the thoughtlessness of humans threatens the survival of our turtles. When hatchlings climb out, they get stuck in trash and become vulnerable to predators such as crabs, hawksbills, hawks, dogs and even humans. ”

At this point, Williams revealed a scenario that most people do not know about.

“When hatchlings meet sand castles, they are the main obstacles on their way to the sea. Everyone likes to build sand castles and we have no problem with that. However, when the structure is left as it is, it becomes an obstacle for the turtles. We usually ask people when they come to the beach to level their castles, because the hatchlings get stuck in them and long-term exposure to the hot sun will kill them. ”

The environmentally friendly Las Cuevas Association has been in existence since 2013 and before that it made voluntary patrols out of love for its natural environment and the sea creatures that depend on it for producing their species.

The organization is requesting funding, but has not yet succeeded. Their results support their dedicated volunteering while maintaining the status of this internationally recognized marine environment. Funding is essential and key to the success of such an effort.

Although the Forest Department has assisted them in patrolling in the past, members of the organization have not yet been officially appointed by honorary hunters, despite applications.

Nevertheless, they selflessly continue to protect our ecologically sensitive species in a vulnerable area.

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