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My Barbados Dover Beach, Hummingbird and Bajan child

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Barbados Ecology and Wildlife

Swim with the Turtles
Barbados is home to a healthy population of hawksbill and leatherback turtles. Once endangered by over fishing, these great creatures are now protected and monitored throughout the Island. In some areas the local fishermen feed and care for them, scraping barnacles of their backs and making sure that their nesting area is safe. Turtles are sociable and tend to stay in the same area, following a steady routine. So long as they do not leave a habitat, they can be seen playing and feeding along the inshore reefs. In certain monitored areas they have become accustomed to humans and relatively tame.


You can swim with them as they feed amongst the coral. A good way to do this is with a sailboat or catamaran tour and snorkelling picnic. If you are in Barbados at the right time you may even take a moonlight cruise to see turtles nesting. Pregnant turtles come out of the water to lay their eggs in the soft sand along the shore. So if you are in a turtle nesting area, walk gentle. When the eggs hatch the tiny new turtles emerge from the sand and make their way to sea. If you are lucky you might see them on a moonlight cruise.


The Barbados Sea Turtle Project (BSTP)

The Barbados Sea Turtle Project (BSTP) was started in 1987 to promote conservation of sea turtles in Barbados. It is a joint activity of the Department of Biological and Chemical Sciences at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus and the Fisheries Division of the Government of Barbados. The BSTP relies upon the co-operation of the general public, particularly hotel staff and guests, and other persons living and working near the beach, to monitor nesting and hatching activity during the turtle season (April – December). Activities undertaken to conserve Barbados’ Sea Turtle populations by BSTP personnel include the following:

  • 24 hour response to public reports of hawksbill and leatherback turtle nesting and hatching;
  • Nightly surveillance of index beaches to closely monitor nesting and hatching activities, and to deter potential poaching attempts of nesting females and their eggs;

  • Tagging and monitoring of hawksbill and green sea turtles in near shore waters through assistance from dive enthusiasts’ dive shop operators and commercial charter boats;

  • Satellites-tracking of post-nesting hawksbills from Barbados to their foraging grounds elsewhere in the region.

  • Monitoring of the debilitating disease, (fibropapillomatosis), in green turtles.

Project personnel are also actively involved in conducting extensive public education programmes on sea turtles and promoting increased awareness about sea turtle conservation in Barbados.

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