On 13th and 14th September 2017, I attended the PADI Turtle Conservation Course presented and delivered by Sea Turtle Conservation, Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean. The course was held at Dive Inn, a dive shop who promote and support the sea turtle programme in Bonaire. During the two-day course, I learned about turtle identification, differences between species, where they live, what they eat, how they breed, threats to turtles, turtle behaviour, nesting, migration, tracking, surveying and turtle conservation.
The major threats to Sea Turtles are:
- Fisheries – Longlines, nets and trawls
- Direct Take – Turtles and eggs being killed by humans
- Coastal Development – Degrading and destroying turtle habitat
- Pollution – Plastic, petroleum and other debris
- Climate Change – Extreme weather events impacts breeding grounds
Bonaire is home to three of the worlds six endangered or critically endangered species of marine turtles. Diving with these graceful, peaceful, magical and gentle animals is moment in my life I will never forget and further increased my curiosity in how I could help support the turtles in recommended, responsible ways.
Support the Sea Turtle Conservation effort
- Support the Hat Tag Program
- Make a Donation
- Adopt a Nest
- Become a Volunteer
- Take the Turtle Conservation PADI Speciality
Help ensure Turtles are protected
If you see a sea turtle in the wild, follow these guidelines to help protect the turtles:
- Swim slowly, do not startle the turtle and approach and watch from a distance so you can observe natural behaviour.
- Turtles are protected by comprehensive local laws and international treaties. Never touch a turtle, disturb a turtle or turtle nests either in the sea, shoreline or on land.
- Do not shine a torch on a turtle. They take only a few breaths at night time, so a false light could trigger death by suffocation, or disorientate the turtle hatchlings.
- Never feed, chase or attempt to ride a turtle.
- Report turtle siting’s and turtles in trouble to the STCB.
- Help with beach cleaning projects to protect the marine environment
- Avoid plastic and dispose of plastic responsibly
- Respect the ocean and dive responsibly.
For further information go to www.bonaireturtles.org/wp/