Puerto Rico has just declared 5.4 square miles of coastline as protected land in order to preserve a leatherback turtle nesting ground, BBC reports.
The Northeast Ecological Corridor has been a battleground between conservation groups and big business for 15 years. The choice was basically between two ideas: “Hey, look at this beautiful natural wonder; let’s preserve it for low-impact ecotourism!” and “Hey, look at this beautiful natural wonder; let’s put up a bunch of luxury homes, hotels and golf courses. We’ll wreck the place but make a ton of cash!”
Luckily, the government of Puerto Rico chose correctly.
Leatherback turtles are a critically endangered species and this stretch of coastline is one of their largest remaining nesting grounds. In addition to the turtles, the Northeast Ecological Corridor is home to 866 species of plants and animals, including 54 rare, threatened, endangered and endemic species.
The area was declared a nature reserve in 2008, but that protection was taken away the next year under pressure from “developers.” In 2012 two-thirds of the area were once again named as a reserve. Now all of the area will be protected, although considering how the government has flip-flopped on this issue before, this may not be the last time we report on this issue.
[Photo courtesy Coalición Pro CEN]
Construction workers moving sand on Grande Riviere beach in Trinidad have accidentally crushed a large number of leatherback turtle eggs. The workers used bulldozers to redirect a river that was eroding the beach, popular with tourists who like to see the turtles hatch.
BBC reports that 20,000 leatherback turtle eggs were destroyed, while Trinidad Express Newspapers quotes Environmental Management Authority CEO Dr. Joth Singh as saying, “only a few hundred” were destroyed.
The Grande Riviere River was encroaching on the beach and the turtle nesting area, and a local hotel owner asked the government to shift its course. The workers ended up bulldozing a portion of the nesting site.
Leatherback turtles, which are a critically endangered species, are famous for laying their eggs in the same spot where they were born. Trinidad’s north coast has huge nesting areas that have become popular with visitors. The Trinidad Express reports that locals and tourists have joined together to sift through the wreckage in search of hatchlings that can be saved.
[Photo courtesy Crazy Creatures]