Saturday, May 15, 2010

Turtles dig the dark

Nesting turtles emerge from the sea each season to lay their eggs on a suitable beach. After laying, they use light reflected off of the water to find their way back to the ocean. Sixty days later, when the hatchlings emerge from the nest, they too use the reflected light to find their way to the ocean for the first time.

As we develop coastal communities, building beach houses, shopping centres and high rise hotels and apartment buildings, we are splashing more light onto these nesting beaches. Unfortunately the lights are coming from the wrong direction and can cause turtles to become disorientated. Often they will end up on a road, in a pool, an easy snack for land-based predators such as dogs, or simply get lost and bake in the morning sun.

For this reason, many coastal communities have "lights out" regulations during turtle nesting season. These regulations often require home and business owners to take modest steps to install turtle-friendly lights, draw curtains, or turn lights out after dark.

MCSS developed lighting guidelines for Seychelles with funding from the British High Commission, but unfortunately these are not always being implemented by tourism establishments or residents.
For a copy of the MCSS Turtle Friendly Developers Guide, please contact us.

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