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Looking For Something To Do This Weekend? Why Not Visit Levera for Turtle Watching

by Lou-Ann Jordan May 16, 2019

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On 17 May the world observes Endangered Species Day.  This year marks its 13th year, and another annual occasion for young and old to be reminded that it’s imperative we protect endangered species. Also, we can learn what measures we can take individually.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, a global conservation inventory of biological species, registers 16,306 species of animals as endangered.  IUCN categorises animals, plants and other organisms threatened with extinction.   Organisms identified as ‘threatened’, are further classified as vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered.

Within the ‘vulnerable’ classification we find a creature that has grown to be quite popular to many Caribbean islands—the leatherback sea turtle.  The largest living sea turtles, female leatherbacks engage in a seasonal migratory journey.  Nomadic, these amniotes cover great distances between their breeding and feeding areas.

The ICUN’s 2013 identification of the species as being ‘vulnerable’ means that the leatherbacks face a high risk of extinction in the immediate future.

That is truly unfortunate, as anyone who has ever visited the supervised nesting area of these marine turtles, knows the sheer wonder they experience as they become party to this pre-historic ritual. However, all is not lost as knowledge is power.

First, let’s learn some amazing facts about our friendly visitors, who dedicatedly return to our shores.  And, in case you’re wondering why they do?  Leatherbacks, when nesting, return to shores on which they hatched.

Amazing facts about Female Leatherback Sea Turtles

  • Weighs between 660 pounds to 1,500 pounds.
  • They can grow to between 4 feet and 9 feet in length.
  • Jellyfish is their main diet. Their jaws would be damaged by a diet of anything other than soft-bodied animals.
  • Mainly nests every two or three years. Instances of annual nesting are possible, but not common.
  • They nest up to seven times during the season with an interval of approximately 10 days.
  • At each nesting lays an average of 80 fertilised eggs, and 30 unfertilised eggs.
  • They live up to 50 years when in the wild.
  • Unlike other marine turtles, their shell is soft, flexible, and leathery.

In Grenada, you can visit Levera Beach to view the nesting.  Under the supervision of the St. Patrick’s Environmental and Community Tourism Organization (SPECTO), you can book a guided tour.

Here are a few things to keep in mind before you visit the turtles.

No flash cameras are allowed. The flash of the camera can blind the turtle.

Refrain from making loud noises especially around the nesting site.

No drinking at the nesting site. Alcohol consumption at the site is strictly forbidden.

Do not litter. The anti-littering policy is to be strictly adhered to.

Wear dark clothing.  Also, a sweater is a good idea as Levera can be cold.

 

Interested in a turtle watching tour?  For more information on turtle watching in Levera, contact SPECTO.

 

Sources: World Wild Life, Britannica, and National Geographic