North Island is a critically important nesting site for two species of sea turtle, the Critically Endangered hawksbill and the Endangered green turtles. Both species are the focus of conservation programmes throughout their natural range across the planet. In Seychelles, turtles have been legally protected since 1994.
As part of our ongoing research efforts, a total of 122 turtles have been tagged by the North Island environment team since 1998, with uniquely numbered titanium turtle tags. These tags allow anyone to identify the turtles and, if they are sighted on another island, find out when and where they were tagged.
As green turtles nest at night, fewer of these have been tagged on North Island but we have had much success with the day-nesting hawksbill turtles. Just over 100 hawksbill turtles have been tagged on North Island, of which some 55 have been re-sighted by people on the Island in following years.
One of these tagged hawksbill females has proved to be something of a North Island regular since she was tagged in 2004. Of the 12 nesting seasons since then, she has missed only four of them. One of the largest hawksbills ever measured on North Island, she is very relaxed around people and has been known to lay her eggs on East Beach just metres from the Piazza as guests enjoy their lunch.