A brief from Edith van der Wal Turtugaruba: Leatherback hatchlings lost direction.

Last Tuesday morning at 4 am one of the Leatherback nests on Eagle Beach has hatched before the regular incubation period was completed. Normally Leatherback nests will hatch in between 60 – 70 days after the eggs are laid.

But this nest came out earlier, unexpected, and the extra protection that Turtugaruba normally places around every nest from day 60 was not in place yet. The hatchlings were attracted by the artificial lights of Boulevard and hotels. Some hatchlings were run over by cars on the road.

The various governments over the past twenty years have been primarily concerned with making as much money in as little time as possible, instead of contributing to the sustainability of our beaches and sea, for example by regulation of artificial light visible on turtle beaches. Permission is granted for the construction of too many hotels, bars and condominiums along the sea shore. Turtugaruba, the foundation that has been responsible for the protection of sea turtles for over twenty years, is extremely concerned.

Leatherback and Loggerhead turtles have already abandoned Palm Beach as a nesting site, due to all the facilities for human entertainment.

It seems that Eagle Beach will be next. The tireless care, night and day, of the foundation’s volunteers, will all have been in vain.

There are plans for another high rise hotel, and on the Leatherback’s favorite nesting site, beside the Costa Linda Resort, the government has build a bar. Until late at night there’s lots of activity, and cars shine their headlights on the beach. The grape trees that protected this spot from the artificial lights of street lanterns and cars, have been cut back. Nature has been sacrificed for alcohol and noise.

Our oldest “repeat guests”, the Leatherback sea turtles, that depend on this beach for their existence, will not survive.

Nesting sites are protected by law on Aruba, but these local laws are not complied with by our own governments. In this respect, Aruba is not fulfilling its international liabilities either.

Nature is losing out, and sustainable development goals (SDG) are sadly forgotten.