Saturday 20 July, 2019

Leatherback turtle nesting photos go viral online

Photo via Facebook user Janette Mikity.

Photo via Facebook user Janette Mikity.

Beautiful photos of a leatherback turtle nesting on Trinidad's north coast have gone viral online.

Facebook user Janette Mikity shared the photos via social media on Wednesday, showing a huge leatherback turtle nesting along Grande Riviere beach. 

Mikity, who appears to hail from the US, shared a glowing review of her trip to Trinidad. 

"For anyone with a bucket list, mind movie or vision board, spending time here is a must. The ocean with its turtles, the land with its revitalized local choclate growing and production, walks and swimming in the cleanest rivers are truly amazing. The people and their passion and commitment to stewarding all of the above and more have forever changed me. Thank you Piero for your wonderful place and hospitality," Mikity said. 

Trinidad and Tobago is one of the largest leatherback turtle nesting sites in the world. Nesting season in Trinidad and Tobago takes place from March 1 to August 31 every year. 

After about two months babies emerge and continue the cycle by returning to the sea.

Leatherback turtles are the largest of all living turtles and is one of the oldest turtle species on the planest, having existed for over 100 million years. 

Unlike other species of sea turtles, Leatherbacks do not have a bony shell.  They get their name from the dark rubbery flexible shell which is marked by seven ridges and allows them to withstand the pressure of diving up to 4,000 feet below the surface of the sea. 

They can weigh up to 2000lbs and 10 feet in length, but more commonly average 5-7 feet and 1000 lbs.  They are found in all the world’s oceans.

Leatherback turtles, along with four other turtle species (Oliver Ridley, Green Turtle, Hawksbill, and Loggerhead) are all protected by law in Trinidad and Tobago. 

All species of sea turtle found in T&T are listed as endangered.  The Leatherback and the Hawksbill turtle are listed as critically endangered.

Anyone wishing to see turtles must apply for a permit via the Forestry Division.

Permits can be arranged through authorised tour guides and local accommodation, or directly at Forestry offices: Long Circular Road (622-7476)‚ San Fernando (657-7357) or Sangre Grande (668-3825). 

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