Our Sea Turtle Program aims to protect sea turtle nests, facilitate research projects, and spread awareness of sea turtle conservation in Virgin Islands National Park and its surrounding waters in the Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument. Managed by a program coordinator working with Park Rangers and funded by Friends, the program includes:
Nest Protection - Nests are protected and monitored throughout incubation and excavated upon emergence
Volunteer Beach Monitoring - Volunteers walk assigned beaches from June to November looking for signs of sea turtle nesting activity.
Research - Independent research as well as collaborations with other programs and institutions help us gain a better understanding of the sea turtles utilizing the waters and beaches of the Virgin Islands.
Have You Seen A Turtle Today?
You can help us track and monitor the health of our sea turtle population! Download the "Ranger Hawksbill" app in Google Play(free) and click the "Turtle Tracker" to share when and where. Please, remember, never touch or grab the turtles! Download our "Guide to Sea Turtle Encounters" to learn more helpful tips and useful information!
About Sea Turtles
Sea turtles have been swimming the world’s oceans for over 100 million years. Today, there are seven recognized species of sea turtles; all of which are threatened, endangered, or critically endangered by national (Endangered Species Act) and international (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) classifications. Four of the seven species can be seen in the waters around the USVI: hawksbills, greens, leatherbacks, and loggerheads. The leatherback, hawksbill, and greens sea turtles are known to nest on the beaches of St. John. Loggerheads are very rare, but have been spotted.
Hawksbill sea turtles comprise the majority of our nests on St. John. While these turtles nest year-round, the peak of the nesting season is from August to November. During this time, these turtles will return to their natal beaches and deposit between 3-5 nests at 14 day intervals. Each nest contains 80-200 ping-pong shaped eggs that incubate for around 55-75 days. Leatherbacks have also been known to nest on St. John. In fact, Trunk Bay was named after the large ‘trunk-like’ turtles using the area as a nesting ground.