See Sea Turtles in Aruba

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Haley Rogers writes, Did you know that only 1 in 1000 baby sea turtles become adults?

Did you know that only 1 in 1000 baby sea turtles become adults? Sea turtles are an endangered species, but thanks to many volunteers, their numbers are growing. One such example of volunteers helping is in Aruba, a small island off the coast of Venezuela. This summer I had the opportunity to visit Aruba and see these volunteers working first hand with leatherback sea turtles. A mother leatherback comes in from the sea, digs a two foot deep hole, and lays a nest with 60 to 100 eggs. The mother will lay about eight nests in a season. She will return in a couple of years to lay more nests. 60-70 days after the eggs are laid the turtles begin to hatch. The baby sea turtles have three instincts. The first instinct is to dig up out from the nest, it takes the babies two to four days to reach the surface. The second is to crawl toward light. That’s when the volunteers come in. Normally, the ocean has the most light reflecting off of it, so the sea turtles head into the water. Unfortunately, today because there are so many resorts along the beach, when the turtles hatch at night the lights from the resort are brighter then the ocean, so the sea turtles head to the resort rather than the ocean. Along the beaches of Aruba when somebody sees that the turtles are coming out of their nests, they call a volunteer group called TortugAruba. The volunteers use black cloth to block out the light from the resort so that the sea turtles go to the ocean. Their third instinct is to swim against the current once they have made it into the water. At a mere two inches in diameter, baby sea turtles face many dangers, that is why so few of them make it to adulthood. Predators such as pelicans and fish eagerly eat the baby turtles. Man made obstacles include resort lights, boats and fishing nets. It is no wonder so few survive. “Sea turltes have lived on Planet Earth for more than 100 million years, They saw the dinosaures come and go. I don’t want the turtlesto end now because of us, people.” said Edith van der Wal, President of TortugAruba. Thanks to the efforts of organizations like TortugAruba at least the babies are more likely to make it to the ocean. TortugAruba (tortuga means turtle in Spanish) has been around since 1991. Over the years they have been perfecting their rescue techniques, and their efforts are paying off. This spring leatherback sea turtles laid 74nnests along the beaches of Aruba. You can help sea turtles and other animals by picking up trash, turning off lights, and not interfering if you see them in the wild.

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