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Bonaire’s Wildlife Bonanza
The Caribbean Island of Bonaire may not be a hot tourist spot like its neighbor Aruba, but those who venture there will find a bevy of natural treasures—both above and below its sunny shores. 

The iguana is one of many species that coexist in surprising proximity on Bonaire, an island where cactus-filled deserts abut the sea.

In “Parrots of the Caribbean,” Audubon photo editor Kim Hubbard and journalist Ted O’Callahan ventured to the small Caribbean Island of Bonaire, population 15,000, to learn about efforts to preserve what is probably the world’s most protectable population of yellow-shouldered parrots. There they also found other spectacular natural wonders, and met several of the people who live among them. 

In a moment of fortuitous timing, Hubbard and O’Callahan arrived at the office of Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire just as a crew was setting off to view a loggerhead turtle hatching on an uninhabited island a half-mile off the coast.

Loggerheads lives for between five and ten years at sea before beginning the migratory life of adult sea turtles—but only one in 1,000 turtles will reach that stage. Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire is credited with preserving and expanding the foraging and nesting habitat of the island’s hawksbill, green, and loggerhead turtles—as well as changing the local perception of the reptiles. Turtle soup was once a Sunday dinner staple and tourist shops sold turtle shells, but education and enforcement of conservation laws have all but ended the poaching.

Click on the images below for clips taken by O’Callahan of the turtle hatching.

Video 1

Video 2


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Read related stories: “Parrots of the Caribbean,” and “Bonaire’s Breezy Future