Statia aims to make a big impact in increasing its numbers of baby green and hawksbill sea turtles, common specimens at the island’s many dive sites. Established 10 years ago by marine biologist Nicole Esteban, the Statia National Marine Park’s St. Eustatius Sea Turtle Conservation Program has recently acquired incubating equipment to improve the success rate of turtle hatching on local beaches. Esteban expects to begin using the new equipment this month, when nesting season begins.
For divers, Statia’s turtles are a major draw. “Everyone loves turtles, but most guests are surprised by how friendly Statia turtles are,” says Glenn Faires, owner of Golden Rock Dive Center. “With fewer than 100 hotel rooms on the island, they are under no pressure from divers.”
In addition to nurturing hatchlings, the sea turtle program also preserves nesting grounds by tagging and monitoring nesting turtles, cleaning up trash, and keeping dogs and vehicles off the beaches.