Turtle Alert! Second Leatherback Nest Discovered
by Hillary Bonner / News of St John
Good Morning, Good Morning! A few weeks ago you may remember a post regarding the first Leatherback Turtle nest found on St. John since 2016. Well, this weekend, a SECOND set of tractor sized tracks were discovered at a popular North Shore Beach! And, it just so happens that one of the folks who stumbled upon these tracks knew exactly what to do AND had the capabilities of taking an incredible photo of the discovery (cover photo- Janet Simonsen – Steve Simonsen Photography).
According to her Facebook post, Janet Simonsen, wife of renowned St. John photographer Steve Simonsen, went to meet some friends at the beach very early on Friday morning. She and her friends noticed a GIANT set of tracks, remniscent of those a tractor might leave behind, leading up from the sea and into the center of the white sandy beach. Janet knew exactly what to do and “quickly called the turtle watch folks who were equally delighted when they arrived to do their work of protecting the nest.”
The Friends of Virgin Islands National Park turtle team were quick to respond and mark the area surrounding the nest in order to protect the soon-to-be-newborns. These eggs will incubate for about 65 days and Leatherback nests generally contain an average of 80 fertilized eggs. So, come Carnival time, we can all be hopeful that dozens of these adorable little guys will be making their way into the Caribbean Sea with a little help from their “friends.”
Friends VINP does not publicize locations of nests as a protection measure but urge you to steer clear if you see a marked nest or reach out if you see possible turtle tracks during your next beach day! “If you do see a nest, please do not disturb it. If you see tracks and the area is not marked, please contact the Park turtle team at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Take a moment to watch this short video about things that ALL of US can do to help protect the sea turtles in our surrounding seas. With nesting season kicking off like this, we are bound to see an abundance of turtle friends in the beautiful waters surrounding St. John and it is up to all of us to protect them!