PRESS RELEASE – Every year, female sea turtles crawl up on beaches in tropical regions of the world.
Their sole purpose during these long hours is to lay their eggs. Female sea turtles return to the beaches where they were hatched (25 – 40 years earlier) to lay their eggs. This process has been experienced and documented numerous times by the members of the Grand Anse Sea Turtle and Nature Defenders, a group of conservationists trying to protect these gentle giants.
A major problem the group faces with conservation efforts of nesting sea turtles is the issue of poaching on the Grand Anse beach. The turtle nesting season recently open on March 1st, 2016 and the inhumane slaughtering of the leatherbacks continue. During a site visit to the area on Monday 2nd May, 2016 by group members it was suspected that five (5) leatherback turtles had come up to nest however only three (3) would return to the ocean while the other two (2) were slaughtered for their meat and it was uncertain whether eggs had been taken as well.
The persons partaking in this heinous act are not only affecting the sustainability of these endangered species but although the livelihood of the persons of the community; Des Barras and Babonneau by extension. Employment is created through the turtle watching tours, patrol rangers as well as vendors in the community which could all disappear if this continues.
Let us all stand against the poaching of turtles and make it our duty to educate our neighbours on the importance of keeping these creatures alive.
The Grand Anse Sea Turtle and Nature Defenders (GASTAND) is the rebranded Turtle Watch Group in Babonneau. The group through an intervention between the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Social Transformation and other agencies has benefitted from a project grant from the GEF/UNDP to implement a project. The name of the project is Protecting the Biodiversity of the Des Barras Community through effective Resource Management, Public Education, Community participation, Inter-agency collaboration and the Development of Economic Opportunities from the Sustainable use of the Community’s Resources’.