Photo: Leatherback Turtle
The Puerto Rican town of Luquillo welcomes Saturday the Leatherback Turtle Festival, a project to raise awareness about the need to protect the largest sea turtle on the planet, a species that nests on the coasts of the U.S. commonwealth.
Yasmin Vigil, representative of the Pro-Ecological Corridor of the Northeast, or CEN, said this town on the island’s northern coast is staging the festival to coincide with the beginning of the species’ nesting season on the beaches of Puerto Rico, which lasts from March to July.
She said citizens must be made aware that the leatherback is in danger of extinction and has to be cared for, particularly during the period when it nests on the Puerto Rican coasts.
Vigil said that on Saturday the importance of keeping beaches clean will be driven home, while an effort will be made for people to get to know the species better during an event supported by the Natural and Environmental Resources Department, or DRNA.
Populations of this species have remained stable in Puerto Rico, though on some beaches the number of nests has declined in recent years.
Puerto Rico is the territory with the most leatherback sea turtles in the United States and is second in the Caribbean after Trinidad and Tobago.
The leatherback’s egg-laying season on the coasts of Puerto Rico extends from March to July, while the subsequent hatching of the eggs occurs in August and September.
The largest sea turtle on the planet chooses warm waters for laying its eggs, and Puerto Rico has some of the beaches that most attract it in the Caribbean.