Are There Starfish In The Dominican Republic And Punta Cana?
Starfish can be found on the coast of the beaches of the Dominican Republic, although their population has been decreasing over the years due to exploitation and unconscious treatment by people.
Contrary to what one might think, starfish are not fish, but echinoderms closely related to sea urchins. The body of the starfish has a variety of curiosities; for example, it has no brain and no blood.
Where are starfish found naturally in the Dominican Republic?
Starfish in the Dominican Republic are found on different natural beaches, but mostly in places where they are not very frequented by tourists, some of the places where starfish are most commonly observed in their natural environment are in the surroundings of Saona Island.
In the surroundings of Saona Island, you can observe starfish, although with the passage of time you will see less, currently, there are two or three, previously appeared by lots, this is because the starfish have been looking for deeper waters to not be disturbed by people.
In spite of the protection that exists in this area, the number of tourists that visit daily can be very stressful for these living beings.
Do not take starfish out of the water
Starfish capture oxygen from the water for their respiration process. The dermal gills of starfish are specialized for capturing the oxygen present in the water and when these species are taken out of their aquatic habitat they cannot carry out the exchange of gases for their vital cycles, so they suffer intoxication.
Generally, with carbon dioxide or monoxide and in a relatively short time they could die, that is to say, they “drown”.
Comparing this with humans, it is equivalent to filling their lungs with water, to take a souvenir photo.
Tourists visiting the Dominican Republic, specifically the Punta Cana tourist destination, include in their travel itinerary a visit to Saona Island, a paradisiacal place that is part of the Cotubanama National Park, in the eastern part of the country.
On the way, an obligatory stop is made at the natural swimming pool, one of the main attractions of this excursion, where, in addition to enjoying the crystalline and shallow waters of the place, the encounter of starfish that inhabit the area is promoted, where most visitors choose to take pictures with these echinoderms.
Some tourists take starfish and pull them out of the water in order to take pictures, some of them even do a complete photo session with the animals, endangering their lives, since they cannot breathe out of the water.
This activity is promoted by photographers, sometimes by tourist guides in an unconscious way, remember that the area of Saona Island and the national park around it is a protected area by Dominican law, causing damage to the ecosystem can be considered a crime.
Although starfish are not an endangered species, we humans must show respect for them, as we do for all other animal species found in our environment. The principles of sustainability promote balance and the coexistence of humans with other living beings.
Can you touch the starfish in the Dominican Republic?
Of course, taking into account that you should not take them out of the water, you can touch them in your hands in the water, these starfish are not toxic, nor poisonous, in fact, they are totally docile animals.
There are thousands of starfishes around the world, the starfishes of the Caribbean zone that corresponds to the Dominican Republic are called “Oreaster reticulatus” or “red cushion sea star”). They are not of soft consistency, but rather hard, as if they were made of plastic material, but they are living organisms.
You can place them in the palm of your hand, in the water, treat them with care, they are living beings, they can be stressed.