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Antigua: Call for hoteliers to help save endangered sea turtles

Coordinator of the Antigua Sea Turtle Project, Mykl Fuller, is calling on hoteliers to help save the endangered sea turtles by fitting their property with turtle-friendly lighting.

Sea turtles are automatically attracted to lit areas, and in the presence of bright lights, nesting females and hatchlings can become disoriented and vulnerable to predators.

During the nesting seasons, hundreds of hatchlings get run over by vehicles.

Recently, the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) replaced the white lights in the Darkwood area with red-tinted LEDs that aim to minimise disturbance to turtles.

“We need a lot more action from the hotels, on that front; there is a small cost associated with retrofitting your lighting, but there are also other opinions in terms of shading your lights, pointing it off the beach or having a low level amber bulb installed. So, we do need the hotels to do their part because they benefit so much from having turtles on their beaches and I think they need to get involved,” Fuller said.

Jabberwock beach is another priority site for the installation of the new LED’s that are described as human friendly.

She said that it is hoped that the move by APUA would be a “leading role,” and that when people see the impact that the lighting project is having, they too will take similar action.

Dickenson Bay, Pigeon Point beach, Galley Bay and Fryes Bay have been identified as other hatching areas for the leatherback and the hawksbill turtles.

Fuller suggests that these areas will require turtle-friendly lights.

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