The beaches at Constance Lémuria, on Praslin Island, Seychelles, are important nesting sites for the endangered hawksbill and green turtles.
These majestic creatures return to the same beaches year after year to lay their eggs.
Our turtle programme
To help protect the species and improve their chances of survival, at Constance Lémuria we run a turtle preservation programme.
The success of the programme hinges on the hard work of our Turtle Manager, our work with the Marine Conservation Society Seychelles, and the support of the local community and hotel guests.
Lémuria’s Turtle Man
Our ‘Turtle Man’ is Robert Matombe. During the turtle nesting season from October to February, Robert patrols the beaches each day. He records the female turtles that come up to nest, and identifies which have visited the beaches before.
Robert makes sure that each turtle safely lays her eggs without being disturbed. He also wants the baby turtles to make it safely back down to the sea.
On Praslin Island each visiting female turtle lays about 150 to 200 eggs. Robert marks the location of each nest.
Over the next two months, while the eggs incubate deep in the sand, he keeps an eye on the nest site.
Lémuria – a favourite nesting ground
Thanks to our turtle programme, we’re seeing an increase in the number of nests each year. For the turtles to continue coming, we maintain the beaches in their natural condition.
Ideal conditions for turtle nesting
- Nesting turtles prefer to nest under the bushy beach vegetation – the shade provides the ideal temperature for the incubation of eggs.
- Nesting turtles and their offspring need dark beaches. If lights from the hotel are visible on the beach at night, they can frighten female turtles and keep them from coming onto the beach to lay their eggs.
- Lights confuse hatchlings as they make their way from the nest to the sea. Baby turtles are attracted to the brightest point on the horizon. On a natural beach that instinct will guide them to the sea.
- Healthy dense beach vegetation acts as a barrier to the light from the hotel and keeps the turtles in the dark. The vegetation also protects the beach from erosion.
Visiting the turtle nesting grounds
Our Turtle Manager can take Constance guests to see the baby turtles move down to the sea. Seeing these primal creatures take their first steps towards the ocean is a truly amazing experience.
Tips for turtle watching
To ensure the continued survival of the turtles, here are some tips for how to behave when visiting the nesting beaches, or if you see a turtle unexpectedly.
- If you see a turtle emerge from the water, stand still. If she’s just coming out of the sea, let her move past you to a point where she can’t see you.
- The best spot for watching turtles is either from a distance where you’re shielded by vegetation, or directly behind the turtle out of her field of vision.
- Always make sure you can’t see the turtle’s eyes.
- Don’t approach the turtle – keep at least 3 m away.
- Speak quietly – a whisper is best.
- Don’t touch the turtle – they don’t enjoy being petted.
- Don’t take flash photography.
- Don’t block the turtle’s passage back to the sea.
- Report any turtle sightings to the Constance Lémuria Resort Turtle Officers.
Find out more about the work we’re doing to protect the environment at Constance hotels.