Guided turtle tours offer an exciting and environmentally sound way to see these gentle giants emerge from the ocean to lay their eggs on the shore. The five species of sea turtles and one subspecies of Pacific turtle nest along the coast of this country’s Pacific and Caribbean coasts, where turtle conservation groups and park rangers strive to conserve their numbers and habitat.
This diverse population is protected by great sea turtles, loggerhead turtles, and green sea turtles. While it is important to remember that these are large animals that can potentially cause injury to humans if handled incorrectly, there are a variety of non-lethal methods to reduce the stress that can result in long-term, positive benefits for the animals. Among the best ways to tour the wild world of these magnificent sea creatures is through a guided turtle tour.
The tour guides are experts in their field and are accustomed to their environment and their personalities. As part of their training, they are taught to identify different types of behaviors and accents, as well as how to recognize and deal with the emotions of the animals they are guiding through the course of the tour. For example, sea turtles may be agitated or afraid, shy or defensive, or nervous or overly excited.
Most tour guides are also trained in CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) and First Aid. They can provide the necessary assistance when a sea turtle begins to convulse, when an injured turtle begins to shake, or when it is unable to breathe. In addition to providing assistance, most tour guides will take note of any changes in the animals’ behavior and provide suggestions as to how to interact with them during future trips. Many also provide educational opportunities, such as observing the creatures use their shells and other shell-related tools.
Tour guides are able to answer questions, explain equipment, and provide other information to travelers on the animals they are guiding. They also know their fellow travelers and their preferred tour destinations, so they can make informed recommendations as to where to spend the day or the week. As part of their preparation, most tour guides will take the necessary time to learn the history and culture of the animals that they are traveling with, including what they eat, when they sleep, their migration patterns, mating rituals, and other cultural customs.
A variety of tour options are available to individuals interested in guided tours of sea turtles and/or other species. Some include tours that involve just one animal, while others are long tours that last several days and include multiple wildlife attractions. Most turtle tours will begin and end in an area that has been designated for such activities and will travel throughout the various habitats of the various sea turtle species.
All tour guides are highly trained and qualified to provide safe and appropriate care for the animals they are guiding. They wear special jackets and footwear, and each turtle will be accompanied by a veterinarian during the trip.
Tour guides are trained to follow safety guidelines and will use caution when handling the animals during and after the tour, so they don’t frighten or harm the animals. They know the best places to pick up the stranded animals if they must carry them to safety and will carry the animals back to shore in a carrier provided by the tour operator. Because they have worked with the animals on previous tours, they also know how to handle and transport them safely back to land. If the animals need to be moved or returned home, they provide care for the animals while their guide and owner wait for them at the new destination.