Prensa Latina reports that Cuba is organizing the first festival dedicated to the sea turtles, to be held in mid-May near their nesting sites in La Coloma fishing community in western Cuba.
The event seeks to contribute to protect these animals in San Felipe Cays, south of the archipelago, a favourite place for them to nest and lay their eggs, says Eliseo Luis Peraza. During the festival, which will be sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund, fishermen and their relatives will be able to attend lectures on the threat these endangered creatures are exposed to.
The program includes a competition for the best décimas—ten-verse stanza poems/songs—inspired on the protection of these animals and other contests related to mask-making and other customs. Through drawings, paintings and handicrafts, children, youngsters and adults will recreate the habitat of these animals that were once revered by ancient cultures that considered them protected creatures.
Three sea turtle species–the green turtle (Chelonia mydas), the caguama (Caretta caretta) and carey (Eretmochelys imbricata)–nest and lay their eggs in May-September at San Felipe Cays National Park under protection projects. The count and protection of nets until hatching are activities led by experts, who also raise environmental awareness in local communities.
Cayo Real, Cayo Coco, Siju and Juan Garcia are the sea turtles’ most frequently visited places. Another favourite nesting site of sea turtles is the Biosphere Reserve of Guanahacabines peninsula, also in Pinar del Rio, 140 km west of Havana.
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Photo of green sea turtle stamp from http://www.123rf.com/photo_10946342_cuba–circa-1983-a-stamp-printed-in-cuba-shows-a-green-sea-turtle–tortuga-verde-series-quelonios–c.html