June 17, 2021

Thousands of turtles arrive at Mexican coasts under the protection of locals

Thousands of turtles arrive at Mexican coasts under the protection of locals

Thousands of sea turtles arrive to the shores of the Mexican Pacific these days to lay their eggs, under the protection of locals who have gone to work to stop the problem of nesting.

The inhabitants of the state of Chiapas, in the south of the country, collect the nests to prevent the looters from taking them and selling them in the illegal market, where they even request up to 300 pesos ($ 15.74) for them.

The nesting season occurs between the months of July and December of each year, and in October the highest nesting point is recorded.

Luis Arturo Álvarez Márquez, operative coordinator of the Sanctuary of the Turtle in Puerto Arista, told Efe that of the eight species of marine turtles that exist in the world, seven are found in Mexican marine waters.

Of these, three are the species that arrive to this part of the Pacific: the lute, the brown and the olive ridley. The latter is the most common this season.

The expert indicated that from the Sanctuary of the Turtle, of the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP), there are night tours of monitoring and surveillance of this animal to try to help its conservation, through the recovery of nests and the release of the as many copies as possible.

"In 2017 we closed the year with the collection of 7,200 nests, this year is turning out to be a bit different, not many are coming out and so far we have 5,000 nests and 500 small turtles released," he explains.

Each nest has on average about a hundred eggs, and "of these we have a loss of between 30 and 40 percent and one out of every thousand survives," abounds.

"We travel 32 kilometers in length to avoid the looting and illicit use of eggs, ensure that their survival increases and minimize the factors that lead them to die," Álvarez says.

The biologist assures that there are three serious problems that have led the sea turtle to extinction: the looting of the egg for sale, the illegal consumption of this product and the indiscriminate killing of turtles.

He explains that the largest marine turtle in the world is the lute, whose carapace is 125 centimeters long. This species arrives at the Sanctuary in the month of December.

José del Carmen Vásquez Durante is president of the Las Barritas de Belisario Domínguez group, formed by a community member who performs surveillance tasks in favor of the turtle.

"The looting is very strong, not only take the nest, but kill (turtles)," and sometimes are parliaments damaged in the networks of fishermen, stresses.

In this regard, Ramiro Moguel de los Santos, a coastal elderly caretaker of the sea turtle, said that before the looters were "many", but now, as they see them in night surveillance tours, "have decreased."

Teresa de Jesús Natarén Vásquez, who has been involved in these tasks for six years, says that she likes to collect turtle eggs: "The first time I cried, I did it with great emotion, it's hard to go and walk back both kilometers, but when you find an egg nest, it's incredible. "

Anabel Chávez, who has been participating in nocturnal tours for four years, assures that her group has found up to 130 eggs per nest.

Normally, turtles lay between 80 and 100 eggs, although there are some that only put 30, because they arrive at the beach tired and battered.


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