Unfortunately, humans are the largest cause of sea turtle depopulation. Given that sea turtles nest on the beach, coastal development has played a large role in reducing the numbers of viable nesting areas as has humans plundering sea turtle nests and consuming the eggs. In addition to harming sea turtles on land, humans have overfished adult sea turtle populations in the ocean, and some species of sea turtles, notably the Hawksbill turtle, are used to craft elaborate souvenirs and articles of clothing. All of these factors put sea turtle populations at risk of extinction.
The good news, however, is that humans can also help sea turtle populations, and the PUNTACANA Ecological Foundation has several initiatives designed to do exactly that. All of the beaches on the resort are monitored by the Foundation during nesting season, and the lighting on these beaches is likewise modified to prevent hatchlings from being disoriented when they are making the long trek to the ocean. In addition to making changes to the lighting and monitoring the beaches, the Foundation also educates the local community regarding sea turtle habitats and nesting behavior so that eggs and turtles go undisturbed during nesting season.
And you can help too! If you live near the beach and enjoy the ocean, there are some very simple things you can do to help sea turtles.
- Reducing the light pollution near your house will have an immediate impact on sea turtles during nesting season.
- For those of you who enjoy boating, be sure not to speed in front of beaches during nesting season and be sure to encourage your friends who boat to do the same.
- Even if you don’t live on the ocean or enjoy boating, you can help too. By refusing to buy turtle meat, eggs, and products made from turtle shells, you can directly contribute to saving the sea turtles.
- If you discover products being sold in the Punta Cana area that use sea turtles, please let the Foundation know.
By taking these simple steps, everyone can help.
Despite fighting an uphill battle, sea turtles can be saved from extinction, and we can all play a part in giving them a fighting chance at survival. The efforts made by the PUNTACANA Ecological Foundation have provided necessary support to keep a thriving population of sea turtles nesting on the beaches at Puntacana, but the role played by turtle lovers like you cannot be underestimated, because it takes all of us to keep sea turtles safe.