Citation
Tropic news. Vol. 1. No. 7

Material Information

Title:
Tropic news. Vol. 1. No. 7
Series Title:
Tropic news
Creator:
United States Virgin Islands. Department of Planning and Natural Resources. Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Publisher:
United States Virgin Islands. Department of Planning and Natural Resources. Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Publication Date:
Language:
English

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Subjects / Keywords:
Caribbean ( LCSH )
Newspapers -- Caribbean ( LCSH )
Genre:
serial ( sobekcm )
Spatial Coverage:
North America -- United States Virgin Islands
Caribbean

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University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
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Copyright United States Virgin Islands. Department of Planning and Natural Resources. Division of Fish and Wildlife.. Permission granted to University of Florida to digitize and display this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.

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Full Text







TROPIC


VOL. I NO. 7


DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING AND NATURAL
DIVISION OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
UNITED STATES VIRGIN ISLANDS


NEWS




RESOURCES

APRIL 1989


LEATHERBACK TURTLE PROJECT

The following summarizes sea turtle
activity on Sandy Point National
Wildlife Refuge from 1 March
through 30 April, 1989. Weekly
daytime patrols conducted by the
personnel of the Division of Fish
and Wildlife took place during
March and 10 activities were
reported. Of the 10 activities, 8
were leatherback 1 was a green
turtle, and 1 a hawksbill.

Nightly foot patrols (1930-0500 h)
commenced 27 March. With the
assistance of 13 Earthwatch
volunteers, 45 leatherback
activities have been observed.
Eight of these were dry runs, 37
resulted in egg deposition. Eggs
were counted in 26 nests, with a
mean clutch size of 110 eggs per
nest, 80.9 yolked eggs per clutch.
Twenty nests which had been laid in
the erosion zone, or which were
threatened with inundation were
relocated.

A total of 19 individual
leatherback turtles have been
observed and tagged. Seven are
remigrants, 2 were originally
tagged in 1981, 1 in 1982, 2 in
1985, and 2 in 1987. The remaining
12 turtles are neophytes. Eighteen
leatherbacks have been measured for
a mean length (notch to tip, over
the curve) of 152 cm. Two
individuals have been weighed.
Additionally, 2 green turtle
activities have been noted, one dry
run, and 1 nest with 166 eggs. One
animal was tagged. One hawksbill
activity, a dry- run, was
documented, that animal was tagged.


Visitor registration is now taking
place through the St. Croix
Environmental Association Office,
with a limit of 10 visitors per
night. During the month of April
125 people visited the project, 76
of them saw turtles.

For the second year, a teen intern
program is underway with the
cooperation of Central High School.
Two student, working 1 night each
weekend for a month, accompany us
to the beach, and work with the
Earthwatch teams. We expect to be
able to train up to 6 students
during the 1989 season.

Due to the continued, lack of proper
signage and road barriers,
increased motor vehicle use of the
beach has severely damaged beach
grasses and plants, promoting
erosion and making foot patrols
more difficult due to loose sand.
All access roads have been signed
with available Division of Fish and
Wildlife signs.

A team of local beach survey
volunteers is being developed in
order to do daytime monitoring of
turtle activities on other St.
Croix beaches. These volunteers
have been solicited through talks
given to SEA and the Hotel
Association. Twenty volunteers are
involved in this effort thus far.
Beach survey volunteers will be
sought for St. Thomas/St. John
beaches.


--I --







SUMMER SEABIRDS RETURN

April marks the return of the
summer-nesting gulls and terns to
the territory. Pair bonding and
courtship will take place during
April and May. The Laughing Gulls
will disperse and nest on many of
the offshore cays, often
intermingled with various tern
species. The Sooty Terns will
settle on Saba, Flat, and
Frenchcap, with egg laying occurring
about mid May. Other terns
including Bridled, Noddy, Roseate,
Royal, and Sandwich, will soon
follow and lay their eggs in June.

Our small, uninhabited offshore
islands provide safe nesting
habitat for these species who have
migrated thousands of miles to nest
here. Human interference in
nesting seabird colonies can have
devastating impacts by reducing
nest success and causing colony
abandonment of eggs and/or chicks.
We ask that anyone observing
harassment of a seabird colony, by
foot or air, or the taking of
seabird eggs, to please contact the
following:
Division of Fish and Wildlife
775-6762
Division of Environmental Enforce-
ment 774-3320
National Marine Fisheries Enforce-
ment 774-5226
Virgin Islands Radio (Channel 16)
776-8282.


TROPICBIRD NEST

A White-tailed Tropicbird has been
found incubating an egg on Cas Cay.
Tropicbirds usually return to' the
same nest site each year, however
because of rain water flooding the
nest, no nesting has occurred at
this site for over the past two
years. Flat rocks were cemented in
place to form a "roof" over the
nest during the non-breeding
season. This site manipulation
proved successful and we hope the
White-tails will return to this
site for many years to come.




Full Text

PAGE 1

TROPIC ..~ NEWS ~ DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING AND NATURAL RESOURCES OIVISION OF FISH AND WilDLIFE UNITED STATES VIRGIN ISLANDS VOL I NO. 7 APRIL 198~ LEATHERBACK TURTLE PROJECT Visitor registration is now taking place throug~ the st. Croi}{ Environmental Association Office, with a limit of 10 visitors per night. During the month of April 125 people visited th-e project, 76 of them saw turtles. The follo~ling summarizes sea turtle activity on Sandy Point tlational Ivildlife Refuge from 1 I1arch through 30 April, 1989. Weekly daytime patrols conducted by the personnel of the Division of Fish and vvildlife too]c place during l.iarch and 10 activities were reported. Of the 10 activities, 8 were leatherback 1 was a green turtle, and 1 a hawksbill. For the second year, a teen intern program is underway with the cooperation of Central High School. T.vo student, working 1 night each vleekend for a month, accompany us to the beach, and vlork wi th the Earth\va tch teams. We expect to be able to train up to 6 students during the 1989 season. Nightly foot patrols (1930-0500 h) commenced 27 ~1arch. ~~i th the assistance of 13 Earthwatch volunteers, 45 leatherback activities have been observed. Eight of these were dry runs, 37 resulted in egg deposition. Eggs were counted in 26 nests, with a mean clutch size of 110 eggs per nest, 80.9 yolked eggs per clutch. Twenty nests which had been laid in the erosion zone, or which were. threatened with inundation \Vere relocated. Due to the continued, lack of proper signage and road barriers, increased motor vehicle use of the beach has severely damaged beach grasses and plants, promoting erosion and making foot patrols more difficult due to loose sand. All access roads have been signed \vith available Division of Fish and i1ildlife signs. A team of local beach survey volunteers is being developed in order to do daytime monitoring of turtle activities on other st. Croix beaches. These volunteers have been solicited through talks given to SEA and the Hotel Association. Twenty volunteers are involved in this effort thus far. Beach survey volunteers will be sought for st. Thomas/St. John beaches. A total of 19 individual leatherback turtles have been observed and tagged. Seven are remigrants, 2 were originally tagged in 1981, 1 in 1982, 2 in 1985, and 2 in 1987. The remaining 12 turtles are neophytes. Eighteen leatherbacks have been measured for a mean length (notch to tip, over the curve) of 152 Cffi. Two individuals have been \'leighed. Additionally, 2 green turtle activities have been noted, one dry run, and 1 nest with 166 eggs. One animal was tagged. One ha\'lksbill activity, a dryrun, was documented, that animal \'1as tagged.

PAGE 2

TROPIC":BIRD t:JEST .c;UlItMRR SEABIRDS RETURN A White-tailed Tropicbird has been found incubating an egg on Cas Cay. Tropicbirds usually return to' the same nest site each year, however because of rain water flooding the nest, no nesting has occurred at this site for over the' past two years. Flat rocks were cemented in place to form a "roof" over the nest during the non-breeding season. This site manipulation proved successful and we hope the vfuite-tails will return to this site for many years to come. April marks the return of the summer-nesting gulls and terns to the territory. Pair bonding and courtship will take place during April and 14ay. The Laughing Gulls vlill disperse and nest on many of the offshore cays, often intermingled vlith various tern species. The Sooty Terns 'viII settle on Saba, Flat, and Frenchcap, with egg laying occuring abou t mid ~1ay. other terns including Bridled, Noddy, Roseate, Royal, and Sandwich, ,~ill soon follow and lay their eggs in June. Our small, uninhabited offshore islands provide safe nesting habi tat for these species ~lho have migrated thousands of miles to nest here. Human interference in nesting seabird colonies can have devastating impacts by reducing nest success and causing colony abandonment of eggs and/or chicks. We ask that anyone observing harassment of a seabird colony, by foot or air, or the taking of seabird eggs, to please contact the following: Division of Fish and Wildlife 775-6762 Division of Environmental Enforcement 774-3320 National Marine Fisheries Enforcement 774-5226 Virgin Islands Radio (Channel 16) 776-8282.