Bonaire’s turtle population increased in 2020, with 113 counted nests.
The 2020 sea turtle nesting season is now coming to an end. The season started on May 1st when Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire (STCB) staff and volunteers recorded the first loggerhead nest on Klein Bonaire and the last nest, laid by a hawksbill, was found on November 13th. Although nesting has ended, STCB is still awaiting the hatching of nests laid in October and November.
Fieldwork continued in 2020, despite the pandemic.
STCB is very grateful for their amazing Beachkeeper volunteers, who were eager to continue working through the pandemic, taking measures to stay safe and allowing the organization to successfully complete the field monitoring.
28 sea turtles returned to Bonaire to lay their nests.
This year, STCB counted a total of 113 nests around Bonaire and Klein Bonaire. Sea turtles lay an average of four nests per individual, so approximately 28 nesting sea turtles of three different species (hawksbill, loggerhead, and green) visited Bonaire in 2020. The total number of recorded nests increased by 27% in 2020, compared to 2019. A complete analysis of data will be presented in the 2020 Year Report, to be published around April 2021.
The rainy season and high sea levels created some obstacles.
The weather presented some challenges in terms of higher sea levels and the amount of precipitation. With all the rain and wind reversals that Bonaire experienced this year, STCB had to keep a close eye on nests laid in low-lying areas, such as the south. Three nests were lost due to rain and high swells, but luckily most nests hatched successfully. Initial calculations actually indicate that the overall hatching success was a little higher than in 2019. In addition, fewer nests showed signs of bacteria and fungi, two factors that can cause high egg failure.
Humans assisted greatly with increasing Bonaire’s turtle population.
Last but not least, adopters continued to support the work of STCB this year with the adoption of thirty-three nests laid by loggerhead, green, and hawksbill turtles on beaches in the south of Bonaire, on Playa Chikitu, and on Klein Bonaire.