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Bonaire takes care of its nature; a sea turtle and seabirds are successfully rehabilitated.


Update on seabirds rescued from oil spill.

As was reported a few weeks ago, Elly Albers of the The Mangrove Center was tasked with the care, cleaning, and rehabilitation of several seabirds, which were covered in oil, after an oil spill occurred up-current in Trinidad.

Brown Boobies and Red-footed Boobies are happy and healthy.

Today, Elly is happy to report that four Brown Boobies and two Red-footed Boobies have survived, are alive and well, and nearing the completion of their rescue/rehabilitation.

Their last washing was on June 12th, 2017, and now Elly is waiting until their natural waterproofing returns to normal.  Once that occurs, these six seabirds will be set free to return to their natural habitat.

Their release into the wild will occur once the feathers are sufficiently waterproofed.

These seabirds’ feathers are not naturally waterproof, but the bird can increase water resistance by applying waxes from their preen glands, found at the base of the tail.

Seabirds also have “powderdowns” which are special feathers which are constantly disintegrating into a waterproof powder.  This powder also adds to the water-resistance of the birds’ feathers.

Boobies, like other seabirds that dive underwater, are blessed with particularly dense feathers, which also helps to keep the water from penetrating to the bird’s body.  These birds must constantly preen their feathers to keep them in good shape, and continually distribute the waterproofing oils and powders.

The birds collectively eat about 2 kilos (4.5 pounds) of fish each day. The fish is purchased from Bonaire’s local fishermen.


“Rosita”, a Juvenile Green Sea Turtle, is successfully rehabilitated.

Over the past six weeks, Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire (STCB) has successfully rehabilitated a juvenile green turtle (Chelonia mydas), named “Rosita,” which was found at Lagun, floating and unable to feed herself.

Rosita was found in trouble on a beach on Bonaire’s eastern coastline.

Rosita was found on May 21st, 2017 by dog walkers who reported the turtle in trouble to the STCB Hotline (+599 780-0433). After a first assessment by STCB’s Project Coordinator, it became clear that the turtle was positively buoyant, and therefore unable to dive for food and so likely to die without help and intervention.

Rosita is a juvenile green sea turtle rehabilitated on Bonaire.A six-week recovery.

Over the course of six weeks, Rosita was re-hydrated, treated for any possible infection, aided in her digestion, fed well, and supported in the process of achieving neutral buoyancy once more by progressively weighting her carapace. Alternative therapies given included a complimentary course of biomagnetism/energy healing treatments from Rosita Paiman, after whom the turtle has been named.

Due to expert team work from STCB staff and volunteers, veterinarian Fulco de Vries, therapist Rosita Paiman, and the team at Harbour Village Bonaire, Rosita has made a full recovery and she was released back to the wild on Sunday, July 2nd, 2017.

If a turtle is found in distress, call the STCB Hotline.

Dr. Sue Willis of STCB encourages all those on Bonaire–visitors or residents–to report a turtle in trouble:

“Bonaire is home to three of the world’s six endangered or critically endangered species of marine turtles. Being able to respond to and assess any sea turtle in trouble on Bonaire is therefore very important. We can’t always save their lives, but at the least we can prevent unnecessary suffering.’’

If you see a turtle in trouble, distress, or danger, please call the STCB Hotline at +599 780-0433.


Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 

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