In the Dominican Republic, Environment Ministry technicians and staff of the company Ecopetróleo will observe the season’s first nesting of leatherback turtles in beaches of eastern Altagracia province, to protect the threatened species.
The vice ministries for Marine and Coastal Resources, and of Protected Areas and Biodiversity said the observation of nesting turtles forms part of a permanent program to protect leatherbacks, with collaborates with other government agencies.
In a statement, Environment said the leatherback, the largest of all sea turtles, can grow to as long as two meters and weighing over 1,000 pounds. “It has unique characteristics that distinguish it from other sea turtles such as its size, textured rubber shell, long front flippers, and a beak specialized to eat jellyfish.”
It said after mating at sea, females leatherback prefer to nest in warm sandy beaches, because the force of the waves allows them to thrust their heavy body through the sand to make their nest, digging a hole around three feet deep. It adds that a female lays up to 100 eggs in a nest where hatchlings emerge within 60 days. Once hatched they immediately head towards the sea guided by its reflection.”