Until the early 1990s, information on sea turtle nesting in the Netherlands Antilles amounted to little more than a few anecdotal accounts and sea turtle nesting was considered nothing more than a rare or accidental occurrence. However, several recent studies have found significant levels of sea turtle nesting activity and have served as an important impetus to successful implementation of new conservation measures and initiatives. We pre- sent and discuss new information that documents several additional sea turtle nesting beaches for con- servation on four Caribbean islands, and that can serve as baseline data for future reference. While most studies elsewhere have focused on large sea turtle nesting beaches, our findings support the idea that small, scattered nesting beaches could cumulatively contribute significantly to both reproductive output and recovery potential of several species when examined on a regional scale.
We discuss the significance of two manatee records for the Dutch Windward Islands (Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten) as well as six manatid and one crocodile record for the Dutch Leeward Islands (Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire). The persistence of the manatee in the Lesser Antilles until the early 17th century suggests that in pre-Columbian times manatees would have also occurred regularly in the Dutch Windward Islands. In pre-Columbian times, suitable habitat for the American crocodile was sufficient in the Dutch Leeward Islands to have supported small resident populations, and habitat for the manatee was possibly also present. Both species have been widely hunted by early humans and we surmise that small, isolated populations of these species could easily have been extirpated in the Dutch Leeward Islands well prior to European colonization. However, two manatee sightings with the last five years, suggest that these islands may somehow still form part of the active range of this rare and elusive species.