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[Parenting] Turtles in danger due to climate change return to Cuba

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Photo Source: Pixar Bay

In Cuba, efforts are being made to conserve tortoise species.

According to a new study published in the Sea Turtle Journal, the number of red sea turtles nesting in Cuba during the last 18 years has increased.

Cuba has a turtle nursery that is central to the entire Caribbean region. Scientists have participated in local projects to educate fishermen. Turtles are still being consumed in the area. After the project started illegal fishing was reduced by 80%.

At the same time, the number of eggs laid in the nest and the period of nesting of the turtle's nest have been shortened, and this is likely to be related to climate change.

"I expect the conservation project to be a success," said Fernando Bretos, director of the Cuban Marine Research and Preservation Program, who is monitoring the tortoises with Cuban researchers.

There is evidence, however, that turtles are damaged by changes in temperature and sea level. Bretos worried that much research is needed to better understand the future of the Red Sea turtle in Cuba.

Temperatures determine the sex of turtles, according to a Florida study, which suggests that there are far more female hatchling turtles in the nest. And the expected sea level rise between 2060 and 2100 can sweep away one-third of the beaches with turtle nests in the Caribbean.

It is also a problem that the habit of turtles is not well known yet.

Scientists get most of the information about red sea turtles when they get from the habit of moving a turtle over the beach or when they spot a red sea turtle caught in a fishing net.

Blue sea turtles are grouped or regularly witnessed on the beach near the harran, while red sea turtles live in deep water, which is difficult to track. And Cuban scientists can not use satellite tracking technology used by American scientists.

For this study, scientists observed turtles for eighteen years along ten beaches across the west coast of the island, focusing on the southernmost point of the Guana Achaviv peninsula protected by national parks.

Cuba is the only region in the Caribbean where the tortoises are largely nesting, usually up to 100 nests, the researchers said.

Although there are not as many turtle nests on the beach at Guanaacabb, researchers say the number of turtles nesting the longest in the area has increased.

The researchers concluded that conservation projects had changed even if turtles continued to be consumed in the area. In private dining rooms, they still use turtle meat.

Laws are much more stringent throughout Florida and the United States. It has been illegal since 1989 to touch protected sea turtles and shrimp trawlers must use a net with a turtle exit.

To explain the effect of the special nets, officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Florida Wildlife Authority released 215 red-headed turtles from Fort Pierce. This was part of an ongoing project and the released turtles immediately entered the wild group.

But climate change can be an increasing problem. Because warmer temperatures cause more females, scientists fear that the sex ratio of turtles will be biased.

And when the narrow beaches of America disappear, the turtles may head for another place. Located between the Gulf of Mexico and the American coast, Cuba is the most likely destination. Bretos said the tortoises that had already flown through Florida from the Caribbean settled in Cuba and were very healthy.

Bretos said, "It is important to feed. This area is very large. There are many places that have not yet been touched by researchers. "

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