Tourism April 27, 2016 | 12:27 pm

Environment to protect leatherback nests in eastern beaches

Higuey, Dominican Republic.- Environment Ministry techniciansand staff of the company Ecopetróleo will observe the season’s first nesting ofleatherback turtles in beaches of eastern Altagracia province, to protect thethreatened species.

The vice ministries for Marine and Coastal Resources, andof Protected Areas and Biodiversity said the observation of nesting turtles formspart of a permanent program to protect leatherbacks, with collaborates with othergovernment agencies.

In a statement, Environment said the leatherback, thelargest of all sea turtles, can grow to as long as two meters and weighing over1,000 pounds. “It has unique characteristics that distinguish it from other seaturtles such as its size, textured rubber shell, long front flippers, and a beakspecialized to eat jellyfish.”

It said after mating at sea, females leatherback prefer tonest in warm sandy beaches, because the force of the waves allows them to thrusttheir heavy body through the sand to make their nest, digging a hole around threefeet deep.

It adds that a female lays up to 100 eggs in a nest where hatchlingsemerge within 60 days. Once hatched they immediately head towards the seaguided by its reflection.”