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Vital Turtle Project’s funds low


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Vital Turtle  Project’s funds low

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Stories by RACHELLE AGARD

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SEA TURTLES IN BARBADOS may be on the brink of being without a caretaker.

This is because after the grant to the Barbados Sea Turtle Project runs out at the end of the year, there is uncertainty about the project’s funding next year.

Director of public education and awareness for the project, Carla Daniel, disclosed this during the launch of the second art exhibition for the year, entitled Saving The Sea Turtles, featuring young local artist Jeena Chatrani.

The exhibition was hosted by Argentina’s Ambassador to Barbados, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia and Dominica, Gustavo Martinez Pandiani, at the Embassy of Argentina in Hastings, Christ Church, last Saturday evening. It was in keeping with the ambassador’s promise to give young artists a home and a voice.

$120 000 needed

The project receives a grant from the Marine Turtle Conservation Fund in Virginia, United States. While not mentioning the amount, Daniel said the money they used was primarily for the hotline and volunteer response.

“That does not include any special campaigns. If we’re trying to get equipment or lighting changed, we have to apply for further grants for that and other campaigns. For example, if we have a beach where we have serious issues with people encroaching and driving across the beach, and we need to get boilers [posts] to stop people from encroaching on the beach, or where we may want to put up signage, we try to source separate funding for that,” she explained.

The MIDWEEK NATION understands that the project needs about $120 000 to keep functioning – otherwise the turtles will be in jeopardy.

Busy nesting season

Daniel noted the project had three members on board – the director and field director who were both lecturers at the University of the West Indies (UWI), while she manned the hotline 24/7.

“During the nesting season when things are extremely busy, we have local and international volunteers who come on board to help from June to November. But that is not to say we don’t need more help. If anyone is interested in volunteering, they can send us a message through Facebook, email us at [email protected] or contact the hotline at 230-0142; we can always use the extra hands,” she added.

Meanwhile, 30 per cent of the sale of Chatrani’s art will go towards helping the project, which is based at UWI.

“The money that is donated to the project through the sale of Jeena’s amazing art is not going to line anybody’s pockets. It’s not going to buy bags or food or anything like that; it’s going directly to the project. It’s going to put feet on the ground so that every hatchling that hatches in Barbados will have a chance,” Daniel said.

ATTORNEY SIAN LANGE (left) and husband Damien Hinds admiring one of the pieces.

MINISTER OF CULTURE John King (left) greeting Argentina’s Ambassador Gustavo Martinez Pandiani while featured artist Jeena Chatrani looks on.

(Pictures courtesy Embassy of Argentina)

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