No sitting on turtles, warns Rambharat
In a statement, Rambharat said citizens and visitors must obey the country's laws and respect Leatherback turtles, who perform their annual migration to Trinidad and Tobago's shores to nest and lay their eggs.
‘We do not want people riding the backs of the turtles, rather we should enjoy them as we are very fortunate to have this treasure here."
He specifically called on visitors during the turtle season to ‘do things the right way’ and use the services of guides who are trained and registered, and ensure that visitors have a permit to be present in protected areas.
Rambharat led volunteers in Nature Seekers’ Annual Beach Clean Up in Mathura on Sunday March 5, in preparation for the turtle season.
He said Mathura in particular is a close-knit community that is 'doing a great job’ in marshalling the forces together to clean up the beach.
Rambharat added that it is "extremely important" to preserve and protect the vulnerable Leatherback turtle and placed emphasis on the work of Game Wardens who help enforce these preservation efforts.
Turtle nesting season usually occurs from March to September every year.
Almost two thousand volunteers attended te event which saw youth involvement from schools and youth clubs including Pathfinders, ASJA Girls, YTEPP, QRC Boys Scouts, Trinidad Sea Scouts, Rotaract Club, Earth Heroes, and many more.
A highlight of the day’s activities included a Sand Turtle Competition, which saw some 15 teams participating, with the first prize being awarded to Trinidad and Tobago Youth Ambassadors.
Other participating organisations included the Turtle Village Trust, Environmental Management Authority, Institute of Marine Affairs, among others.
Nature Seekers’ 2017 theme is ‘nature is everyone’s responsibility’ and the Annual Clean up sought to create an opportunity to inspire a new generation of thinkers and doers of society to connect with nature and take action to support environmental conservation.
The Leatherback turtle is listed as an Environmentally Sensitive Species (ESS) by the Environmental Management Authority (EMA).
Conservation laws prohibit the taking, removing or selling of any turtle eggs and also prohibits the killing, harpooning or selling of any turtle.