Kralendijk – On November 28th, Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire (STCB) in cooperation with Frank Rivera-Milán and Fernando Simal (WILDCONSCIENCE) published an article in the scientific journal Endangered Species Research. The paper, ‘Green and hawksbill turtle abundance and population dynamics at foraging grounds in Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands’, can be found online at www.int-res.com/articles/esr2019/40/n040p243.pdf.
For this study, sixteen years (2003-2018) of monitoring data from transect-count and net-capture surveys was analyzed, in order to obtain a baseline population estimate and yearly trends in annual abundance at foraging grounds along the entire west coast of Bonaire, Klein Bonaire and inside green turtle ‘hotspot’ Lac Bay.
Data shows no trends in sea turtle abundance along the west coast of Bonaire and around Klein Bonaire. Over the 16-year study, STCB found an average abundance of 555 green and 70 hawksbill turtles in this area. For Lac Bay, there was a positive trend in annual abundance for green turtles, despite the recent introduction and rapid expansion of the invasive seagrass Halophilla stipulacea. Mean turtle abundance in Lac Bay is calculated to be around 350 individuals at any given time – the turtles swim back and forth between the bay and the outer reef.
Publishing scientific articles in well-recognized journals supports the work of STCB in different ways. Publications emphasize STCB’s credibility and help the organization to obtain funding, so that they can continue to collect data and to conduct conservation activities. In addition, annual assessments of Bonaire’s sea turtle population allow STCB to assess the results of these conservation actions and to make informed management decisions.
STCB would like to thank its volunteers and interns for their dedication and support in the field. Without them the publication would not have been possible. Also, they would like to give special thanks to STCB’s funders and donors who have supported STCB’s activities since 1991.