I was blessed to be at Mona Island for working for NOAA on a research project at the same time that leatherback sea turtles were hatching.
The group of researchers have been studying and protecting the sea turtles of Mona Island for over 20 years. They monitor the species of turtles that nest there. Just this year (2014) they discovered for the first time in 15 years the leatherback sea turtle nests are back.
I held this baby in my hands, which will later grow to be bigger than me, before it was released that evening in the waters to join the rest of its kind at Mona.
Never ever touch or disturb sea turtle nests along the beach. They are protected federally and locally, and only those with knowledge of handling should be responsible for releasing them into the water after hatching. Alert the local Department of Natural Resources if you come across a turtle nest that is not marked or roped off - there are always scientists monitoring and studying them to continue to protect these beautiful creatures.