Puerto Rican Students Urge Government for Protection of Leatherback Turtles

The Puerto Rico Daily Sun reports that more than two dozen high school and college students joined environmental groups on Tuesday in demanding that Governor Fortuño support and protect the habitat of wildlife in the Northeastern Ecological Corridor (NEC). Here are excerpts with a link to the full article below:

Pro-NEC Coalition members are challenging the government’s decision to change the NEC from “protected” to common rural urban development, charging it would allow for the development of the San Miguel and Dos Mares resorts, more than 4,000 housing units and three golf courses, as well as a shopping center and an additional road. Francisco Maldonado, a senior at the University of Puerto Rico High School, noted that Department of Natural and Environmental Resources Secretary Daniel Galán Kerkadó stressed last week the importance of the beaches located between Luquillo and Fajardo as nesting grounds for the endangered leatherback sea turtle, called ‘tortuga tinglar’ in Spanish.

“It is for these reasons that we ask the government to restore the corridor as a natural reserve in its totality, banning its destruction,” said Paula C. Covas Lugo, a resident of Río Piedras and NEC activist. She said that the Sierra Club Student Coalition proposes ecotourism alternatives for the corridor, not only to protect the about 900 species in danger of extinction, but also to create jobs related to the wildlife and the environment.

Along the beaches of Puerto Rico’s northeast coast, endangered leatherback sea turtles have begun arriving to begin their annual, 150-million-year-old nesting ritual. These leatherbacks turtles are looking for a dark and quiet beach to deposit their precious eggs before returning to the ocean. They may find one of the best nesting beaches in the NEC, a 7.2-mile shoreline hosting between 200 to 460 leatherback nests a year.

To follow the migratory journey of a Puerto Rican leatherback turtle, see www.cccturtle.org and www.drna.gobierno.pr.com.

For full article, see http://www.prdailysun.com/news/Students-urge-NEC-protection-as-leatherback-turtles-arrive-to-nest

Large photo of leatherback turtle in Zoni Beach, Culebra (by Palmetto Guest House) from http://www.flickr.com/photos/palmettoculebra/2607900994/

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