June 22, 2021

Thousands of Olive Ridley turtles arrive in Mexico for their last spawning of the year

Thousands of Olive Ridley turtles arrive in Mexico for their last spawning of the year

More than 150,000 olive ridley turtles arrived at the beach sanctuary "La Escobilla" located in the southern state of Oaxaca to probably make their last spawn of the year, Efe personnel told Efe today.

From July to December, every 28 or 30 days there are massive arrivals of chelonians arriving through the waters of the Pacific Ocean to spawn in 8 of the 25 kilometers covered by this beach belonging to the municipality of Santa María Tonameca.

The biologist in charge of the sanctuary, Erika Peralta, told Efe that they have been watching the turtles three nights in a row, having already counted around 153,800 turtles of this species in danger of extinction.

The specialist said that the eggs will hatch in a period of approximately 75 days.

"As are the months that we consider a bit colder, with lower temperatures, this may favor hatching in the coming months," he said.

According to the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (Conanp), it is estimated that 2018 arrived at this Oaxacan beach more than a million turtles.

Each one usually deposits about 100 eggs, which would add up to a total of 100 million eggs.

The olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) is affected by human activity, suffering looting in its nests.

Once the eggs are obtained, they are marketed illegally, forcing the federal authorities to tighten surveillance on the beach of Oaxaca.

Although in the world there are 12 beaches where this species nests, according to the Commission, the beach of "La Escobilla" is the most important because it has the highest number of arrivals.

According to data from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the olive ridley suffered a considerable population decline in the 1960s and 1970s due to indiscriminate fishing that almost led to extinction.

At present, its population is growing day by day and it is already abundant in the Pacific and other parts of the world.

"It is in a clear recovery, although not entirely," researcher at the Institute of Marine Sciences and Limnology (ICMyL) of the UNAM, Alberto Abreu Grobois, told a recent press conference.

Climate change also affects sea turtles, as their population – along with crocodiles and lizards – can decrease due to temperature variations.

This is because these species have the particularity that the temperature of the incubation determines their sex, so that the increase in the global temperature of the planet can affect them.

"If the temperature continues to rise, populations could be reduced," Paola Cornejo, a scientist at the Institute of Genomic Sciences of the UNAM, told a recent press conference.

In addition to the possible decline in the population of sea turtles for reproductive reasons, last summer there were population declines in Mexico due to various accidents.

On August 28, about 300 olive ridley turtles were found off the coast of Oaxaca when they were trapped in fishing nets.

Also on August 25, a party on the beaches of Isla Salmedina, in the state of Veracruz, left hundreds of Kemp's ridleys (Lepidochelys kemp) dead, a species also in danger of extinction.


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