Hang on the Beach with Sea Turtles in Tobago
I have personally participated in many of the programs mentioned on this site. One of the programs is Save Our Sea Turtles in Tobago. I had an opportunity to join them while down in Trinidad and Tobago to speak at at the Caribbean Animal Welfare Conference.
Knowing I was going to be making the journey to the region, I decided to take some extra time to volunteer to help with sea turtle nesting season. I searched around and found the program managed by SOS Tobago. They normally don’t let people come for just a few days, but the executive director was attending the conference I was speaking at, so he made an exception.
I showed up the first night to help and was excited to see a giant sea turtle up close! Our job involved walking the beaches looking for turtles coming up to nest. They do this for a few reasons:
- To ensure they don’t encounter any issues (for example, we had one turtle whose fin had been damaged; she was unable to dig the hole on her own, so we helped),
- To ensure no poachers get them,
- To ensure the tourists don’t interrupt their process (they are very particular about where they lay their eggs, and could be scared off by spectators),
- To identify if the eggs are laid in a location that requires they be moved (such as an area where they will get uncovered in the tide or where lots of cars drive), and
- To mark the location and date so they can track when the eggs are likely to hatch and assist the babies in getting to the sea.
The SOS Tobago group was incredibly professional and fun. I was lucky to get to spend time with them and learn more about the program. If you have some time and a passion for marine life, I highly recommend making the trip to Tobago to volunteer with their crew.