Passionate Conservationist Prince Harry met volunteers from the Nevis Turtle Group in St Kitts and Nevis and helped release baby turtles as part of his Caribbean tour.
Though the young royal arrived on one of the world’s most secluded beaches at the wrong time of day to see turtles hatching and burrowing their way to the surface of the sand, five baby green turtles which had been found trapped in thick vegetation were kept for him to release.
Prince Harry carefully examined the first turtle before gently placing him at the water’s edge and exclaimed ‘A whole team!’ when he was given the others. As the tiny turtles made their way down the short, steep beach to the water Harry gestured towards the surf with his hands, willing them on and saying ‘Go, go, go!’ and directing them ‘That way!’
Commenting on watching the turtles he said ‘Look at the energy they have as well. He’s waiting for the water to come to him – that’s really clever.’ Revealing that he’d never seen baby turtles before it was clear that Prince Harry was impressed to hear the babies he helped release would eventually weigh 900 lbs.
Once the turtles were all safely in the water Prince Harry was taken to help dig to check for any turtles still in their nests further down the beach.
With protective gloves on he eagerly dug into the sand, pulling out empty shells and examining an example of an egg that hadn’t developed. When he had dug about 2ft down into the sand the Prince was told there would not be any live turtles at that point to which a concerned Harry replied, ‘Are you sure there are no more? Never leave a man behind!’ as he continued to dig.
The group explained that stragglers from the nest do not tend to make it because they don’t have the help of dozens of siblings who have hatched with them to help them dig their way to the surface.
During his visit Harry learned more about the Nevis Turtle Group’s conservation project which aims to protect turtles and increase their population as only one in any group of 1,000 turtles in Nevis will return to lay eggs and they face issues with poachers as many people hunt turtle eggs for consumption in Nevis despite the fact it is illegal.
Harry was very encouraging of the hard work being done by the group and it’s clear his efforts were appreciated. Volunteer Thema Ward said ‘Harry was excellent. He got right down there digging with us and we weren’t expecting that. He is so down to earth – like his mum was. She just blended right like a real person when she was here and Harry did the same.’