Research and Monitoring Report 2011 - Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire

Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire (STCB) is a non-governmental, non-profit, research and conservation organization that began in 1991. Our mission is to ensure the protection and recovery of Bonaire’s sea turtle populations throughout their range.

Three species of sea turtles are found in the waters of Bonaire. They are: the hawksbill, the green turtle, and the loggerhead. The hawksbill is considered “critically endangered” throughout its global ranges; and the green and loggerhead considered “endangered”. Bonaire offers a relatively safe haven for foraging juvenile hawksbill and green turtles, as well as critical nesting grounds for hawksbill, loggerhead, green, and the incidental leatherback.

In 2011, we completed our 9th year of systematic research on the sea turtles of Bonaire. In this report you will read about the methods and results of our research and monitoring activities, which include nesting beach monitoring, foraging ground surveys, and turtle migration tracking. With our nesting beach monitoring, we track turtle nesting activity, determine nest size and productivity, and estimate the number of hatchlings produced. With our foraging ground surveys we tag, measure and photo- graph individual turtles and establish catch-per-unit-effort measures of turtle abundance. We inspect our captured turtles for signs of illness or injury, including fibropapillomatosis, which we first saw on green turtles at Lac Bay in 2005. Our recapture of previously tagged turtles provides valuable insight into turtle residency duration, recruitment, home range, growth rates, and habitat quality. With satellite telemetry, we are able to identify the migration paths and distant feeding grounds used by our breeding and nesting turtles.

Using the information we gather in our research and monitoring activities, we are able to identify and implement conservation efforts to improve the direct protection of Bonaire’s sea turtles and their environments. Our activities also include partnerships and initiatives that focus on the bigger picture and use sea turtle conservation as a focal point to drive and stimulate conservation awareness and efforts. 

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