ST. EUSTATIUS–St. Eustatius National Parks Foundation Stenapa announced the start of its leatherback nesting season on Zeelandia beach. Marine Park Manager Jessica Berkel witnessed the first nest of the year and was able to identify this female as a new individual for Statia. “This was a small leatherback, and we think that due to her size and her apparent inexperience with the nesting process, this could possibly be her first nesting season; she is certainly a new individual to St. Eustatius,” said Berkel. The nest was verified as a successful lay with the incubation process now underway. Within about 60 days, this nest will hatch. Sea turtles, including leatherbacks, return to the same beach season after season to lay their eggs. This is why it is so important to ensure the integrity of the beach and limit sand mining activities to designated areas, Stenapa stated.
It is against the law to remove sand from the protected beach at Zeelandia, and the public is urged to respect this law. Beach barriers have been put in place to minimise the opportunity for this illegal activity, while still allowing access to the designated areas for sand collection.