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Marine Turtles Conservation in Grenada with YWF-Kido Foundation
Piero Becker is from Madison, N.J. and received a degree in marine biology from the University of Rhode Island. Shortly after graduation he realized his passion was in marine conservation and went into doing field research working with the endangered sea turtles of the ocean. When he is not working to preserve wildlife he is back in the states working in the film industry and trying to promote wildlife conservation awareness. He also enjoys hiking, scuba diving, surfing, snowboarding, and adventure sports.
Morning: The typical morning at KIDO Foundation for me is usually spent just coming off the beaches we patrol at night from 7:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. Once I get back to the house I usually end up going to kayak to the other beaches sea turtles are known to come up to protect the possible nests from poachers and relocate them if needed. The morning patrol surveys are usually my favorite time of the day. The amount of biodiversity here in the waters of Carriacou are unmatched by any other place I have ever been to or projects I have worked on. I observed while kayaking and snorkeling: sting rays, green/ hawksbill sea turtles, eels, octopodes, sharks, and thousands of unforgettable fish species.
Afternoon: The afternoon was usually spent sleeping or touring around the island. There are many wonderful beaches on Carriacou to lay out on when it is a wonderful sunny day. The people and the atmosphere of the island is unbelievable in the most welcoming way. On days off from patrolling it is really nice to have the chance to explore some of the other neighboring islands. The Tobago Cays was one of my favorite destinations to see an abundance of wildlife and to swim with the sea turtles.
Evening: Evenings at KIDO are quite relaxing when you have a day off from patrolling but the real fun is when you are on patrol. I loved the rush of seeing the gigantic leatherbacks heave themselves out of the ocean to nest on the beaches of Carriacou. Leatherbacks can easily reach up to 6 ft long and can definitely be a bit of a shock when you first get up close to one to take her measurements.
Highlights: The most rewarding experience of the trip and memorable would be rescuing many sea turtles from being slaughtered by fishermen during the Grenadines open sea turtle hunting season. One of which was a leatherback that we spent 4 hours trying to rescue and return to the sea. At this time I was actually able to ride her out to sea and safely over the coral reef after a traumatic experience. I was able to make a movie about our efforts at KIDO in order to raise awareness and hopefully ban the hunting and killing of sea turtles all year round.
About YWF-Kido Foundation
The goal of the YWF-Kido Foundation is to preserve the marine and tropical ecosystems and encourage the sustainable development in the Grenadines by encouraging environmental education, social programming, research and eco tourism.