Dominican Republic names first nesting green sea turtle 'Jaira,' honoring Tico conservationist

The Dominican Republic’s Environment and Natural Resources Ministry on Tuesday reported that for the first time ever, a nesting green sea turtle arrived at the southern Güibia Beach.

The agency named the turtle “Jaira” in tribute to Tico turtle conservationist Jairo Mora, assassinated last May while he was guarding sea turtles on a Caribbean beach.

According to the ministry’s report, the turtle measured 113 cm long, and after four nesting attempts, she finally laid 115 eggs.

The Vice Ministry of Coastal and Marine Resources confirmed that it’s the first time in the country’s history that a green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) has arrived on a local beach.

There had been only one sighting of a sea green turtle in the Dominican Republic, at Catalina Island in the eastern region, more than a year ago, the ministry added.

The agency also noted that “this [arrival] is the result of new policies implemented in current management of the Environment Ministry on monitoring the nesting of sea turtles in the Dominican Republic.”

The country’s National Environmental Protection Service in June started a protection program and a 24-hour surveillance patrol in the area, and currently they are protecting two hawksbill turtle nests.

They also assigned a permanent brigade to clean and remove debris on the beach to facilitate the possible arrival of more turtles in coming days, and they ordered technical oversight by experts from the vice ministry.