World Sea Turtle Day: Meet those species that arrive in Yucatán

Photo: (Sustainable Development Secretariat (SDS) of Yucatán)

Three species arrive every year ashore, despite threats.

Mérida, Yucatán, (June 16, 2021). – Of the eight species of sea turtles that exist in the world, seven arrive on the Mexican coast and three arrive on the Yucatan coast: the Hawksbill, the White, and Loggerhead turtle, all of which are considered endangered species.

Every June 16, World Sea Turtle Day is commemorated, which is actually a call to promote actions that reduce the threats suffered by these animals, because all species are in danger of extinction.

According to the Sustainable Development Secretariat (SDS) of Yucatán, the species that arrive in the territory are protected by official regulations and have three Protection and Conservation Centers located in Sisal, Telchac Puerto, and Dzilam de Bravo, Yucatán municipalities.

The SDS recognizes that because sea turtles are a difficult species to study, it is preferable to identify threats such as physical barriers, changes in beach morphology, tourist infrastructure, urbanization, and garbage in the sea and beach, among others.

There are 130 kilometers of coastline in which from April to November conservation activities are carried out for the conservation of the three species, prioritizing the protection of the nests.

Hawksbill turtle

This species represents 85 percent of the turtles that arrive in Yucatán. It can measure up to 90 centimeters and reach a weight of up to 68 kilos.

They are easy prey for large fish, sharks, crocodiles, and octopuses, but when they are most in danger it is when they are babies and they leave their nests to run for the sea, and that’s when seagulls and crabs attack.

Humans are one of the main threats because they kill them for their eggs and their meat.

Photo: (Government of Yucatán) 

Green or white turtle

It measures up to 153 centimeters and can weigh from 68 to 190 kilos. In nesting season they lay between 100 and 200 eggs, which they themselves cover with sand.

Green or white turtles can live up to 80 years, but their offspring are threatened by raccoons, foxes, snakes, coyotes, possums, rats, vultures, and humans.

The illegal marketing of its eggs and the hunting of adult specimens to use their leather is one of the main causes of it being an endangered species.

Photo: (Secretariat of Sustainable Development)

Loggerhead turtle

It can reach up to 110 centimeters in length and they are the ones who make the longest trips for sea turtles. They can make a trip from Japan to Mexico, dodging millions of hooks and fishing nets looking to fish for swordfish and tuna.

Other threats it faces include entanglement in fishing nets, increased nest predation, boat encounters, and oil and gas spills.

They are rare in Yucatan, they represent five percent of the sea turtles that arrive in the area.

Photo: (Reuters)

Source: La Jornada Maya