“More than 5,000 turtles have been released so far this year in Yucatan, and despite being 20% less than last year, the amount of births and release of these marine animals has been increasing compared to past decades”, explained Luis Méndez González, head of the Department of Ecosystem Conservation, of the Secretariat of Urban Development and Environment (Seduma).
“At the moment we are in the last third of the season, we are moving forward, but we still have many nests detected and marked that are still to hatch. Although we have 20% births less than the previous season, we are doing well, and we hope to get more or less the same numbers” said the veterinarian.
“Right now, we run three protection centers; one in Sisal, another in Telchac and one more in Dzilam de Bravo. In general, we have released about 5,000 free-range turtles so far this year. But we still have several nests that will increase this number, before the end of the season” he said.
The season officially begins in April, when we begin to make the day tours in order to identify traces of turtles, “we started doing the night tours more often and the season ends in October. We have park rangers in the three coastal reserves: El Palmar, Ciénega and Manglares of the Yucatan coast and one more in Dzilam de Bravo.”
“The methodology begins by finding a nest, assessing if it is in a situation of risk, depending on the erosion or other characteristics of the beach, sometimes the turtles can not climb a sand slope or lay their eggs in places where the tide is very likely to rise, in these cases, the eggs are relocated or taken to the corrals for protection and shelter until they reach the two months of incubation time”, explained the expert.
As for the human predators of these listed eggs and turtles, Méndez Góngora said that in Yucatan this problem does not occur constantly: “We have not detected people on the beaches preying”.
“In terms of preservation, people needs to be aware that only one or two among specimens reach reproductive age ot of one thousand. Reproductive age is 15 to 20 years, depending on the the species” he said.
He also stated that during these years of work with the chelonians, the factors that are most rewarding for the collaborators of this project is that the number of released turtles has been increasing, with the effort of previous administrations. But it is also important to highlight that in addition to this work, awareness raising labor has been made with children during the turtle-releasing events.
Sargassum serves as nest shelter and temporary home for turtle hatchlings
Something impressive about these sea animals, is the fact that despite the damage caused by sargassum, the turtles use it as a nest and temporary home during their first months of life, nourishing and protecting them at the same time. Because of the solitary nature of these animals and their somewhat complex behavior, it is not known until what moment these chelonians leave this “improvised” nest.
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