Commend Conservation Group for Guiding Sea Turtle Hatchlings Back to Ocean


Target: Dr. Sue Willis, Program Director of Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire

Goal: Applaud the protection of hatchling loggerhead sea turtles, whose migration was complicated by bright airport lights

After baby sea turtles hatch on a beach, they face the obstacle of safely entering the ocean in order to successfully migrate to their distant feeding habitats. Sea turtle hatchlings orient toward the ocean using light cues. Ordinarily, they would crawl into the water that is illuminated by the moon or rising sun, but this natural process has been disrupted by brightly lit areas including hotels, condominiums, and airports.

Recently, a group of endangered loggerhead hatchlings on the Caribbean island of Bonaire was at risk of being stranded as a result of a nearby airport’s distracting bright lights. Fortunately, volunteers at Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire came to the disoriented young turtles’ rescue. By creating a ‘human wall’ with the shadows of their bodies, Dr. Sue Willis, the program director of Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire, and volunteers ensured that the loggerhead hatchlings found their way into the ocean.

The volunteers surrounded the baby turtles on both sides so they could not see the lights from the airport. The hatchlings were given enough space to crawl into the ocean on a path down the beach. There were 112 hatchlings out of 113 who made it into the water that evening. The organization compassionately kept the 113th turtle overnight, gave it a physical exam, and kept it hydrated until it was releasable. Upon the last baby turtle’s release, volunteers placed it in the same spot it hatched and again made a ‘human wall’ to safely guide it to sea.

Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire has over 400 volunteers dedicated to ensuring that sea turtles that hatch on Bonaire beaches make it back to the ocean safely. Please sign this petition to applaud this organization for their conservation and rescue efforts.


Dear Dr. Sue Willis,

I would like to commend you and your organization’s volunteers for your conservation efforts. Thank you for coming to the rescue of sea turtles by compassionately leading endangered loggerhead hatchlings into the ocean. Without your intervention, the lights from the airport would have caused the baby turtles to crawl in the wrong direction, possibly onto busy roads where they would be killed by automobiles. By ensuring that all the turtles made it into the ocean, you also avoided stranding them on the beach to be dehydrated by the morning sun.

You and the volunteers of Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire provide inspiration and hope for saving endangered species and offsetting the harmful consequences of human development. Please continue to demonstrate compassion and care by valuing each individual animal’s life. Endangered species including loggerhead sea turtles are not well understood and much of their behavior remains a mystery. Providing this level of care not only improves lives of animals, special attention to as many specimens as possible will improve our understanding of marine life at large. Efforts made by organizations such as yours are essential in protecting sea turtles from extinction.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Jay Paredes via Flickr

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One Comment

  1. Sheila D GGma Sheila says:

    Thank You. Thank you ALL.

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