Wednesday 20 March 2019

New Street Lights to Help Save Baby Turtles – via Herp Digest

Cayman News Service 2/26/19

CUC staff install turtle-friendly lights

Forty special street lights have been purchased by the Department of Environment using cash from the Environmental Protection Fund to help prevent baby turtles hatching on local beaches from going the wrong way. The DoE said the new lights will be installed along roads adjacent to important turtle nesting beaches and where the most disorientation has happened in the past. They will all be fitted before this year’s nesting season in a significant step towards making public roads “turtle-friendly”.

“Roadway and residential lighting that shines onto the beach discourages female turtles from nesting and is a critical threat to hatchling sea turtles,” said DoE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie.

“When they emerge from their nests at night, hatchlings find the ocean by heading toward the brightest light they can see. On an undeveloped beach, this is the moon and stars reflecting off the ocean’s surface. However, artificial lights can be much brighter and lead the baby turtles toward land, where they face mortal danger from exhaustion, dehydration, predators and vehicles.”

The installation is taking place in partnership with the National Roads Authority (NRA) and the power provider, Caribbean Utilities Company (CUC). One test light has already been installed in West Bay and similar turtle-friendly lights have been used successfully in other jurisdictions to reduce sea turtle hatchling mortality, while safely illuminating both roadways and beachfront properties.

The streetlights are certified by the US Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and use an amber wavelength that is less likely to attract hatchling turtles away from the sea.

CUC Manager of Environment, Health and Safety Joni Kirkconnell said the firm was pleased to facilitate the project. “The installation of these specially designed light fixtures offers a balance between environmental protection and road safety. We think Cayman’s community will appreciate these lights as much as we do,” she said.

NRA Acting Managing Director Edward Howard was also pleased to be involved.  “Replacement of the lights specified in the trial will lead to an immediate increase in sea turtle hatchling survival and will pave the way for turtle friendly roadway lighting to be rolled out on a broader scale in the future,” he said.

Dwayne Seymour, the minister with responsibility for the environment, said he was grateful to all those involved, as he pointed to similar projects happening in Florida.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You only need to enter your comment once! Comments will appear once they have been moderated. This is so as to stop the would-be comedian who has been spamming the comments here with inane and often offensive remarks. You know who you are!

Related Posts with Thumbnails