8000 Turtle Hatchlings Released at Mexico Conservation Camp.
Joel Ibarra, who works as a member of staff for Projects Abroad on our Conservation Project in Mexico updates us on their work:
"It is peak season at the camp, there are turtles everywhere, Pacific Green Sea turtles, Olive Ridleys and Leatherbacks; the corral is packed with sticks marking the places of the nests. Each nest contains an average of one hundred eggs, patiently waiting 45 days until the newborns start digging themselves up through the sand.
For a few nights each year the turtle camp experiences what in Mexico is called "noche de efecto", a time when the climate, geographical and tidal conditions are perfect for the turtles to come on shore and lay their eggs. The turtles come out in massive numbers and it means a huge amount of work for all the conservation volunteers.
Six weeks ago we experienced the "noche de efecto"; the volunteers were able to collect one hundred nests in one stormy night. Some volunteers were looking for the nests from the quad bikes, others walking along the 25 kilometres of beach; the aim is to collect as many nests as possible and leave the poachers with empty hands. Even though the weather conditions were rough, we still managed to have a very successful night.
The work doesn't stop there; we still had to re-bury the eggs in the corral, back at the camp, which is not an easy task! Every nest weights an average of 20 pounds, then, there's a hole to dig to put the eggs in. Finally the eggs need to be counted, notes have to be made and then the nests need to be covered and a marker stick put beside it. The eggs will be safe there from predators of any kind until they hatch.
Those one hundred nests have started to hatch already. For three days we had turtles crawling around the camp at all times, all the volunteers had to follow their tracks around the place to catch the hatchlings and then put them all together, some others were in the corral digging them out, it was a non-stop job.
At sunset it is time to release the hatchlings; we all grabbed a basket-full of baby turtles and headed to the beach. A clean spot was chosen to release them, no rocks, logs or footprints, everything was set. We marked out a line that we have to stay behind as the little turtles can get stuck in footprint indentations. Then the spectacle begins, hundreds of hatchlings racing to the sea in a mass exodus, somehow they know where to go and the next thing we could see were hundreds of turtles swimming on the surface of the sea.
Over three days 8000 hatchlings were released.
It is a very rewarding sight to experience and it happens every day here at Campamento Tecoman at sunset!"
Tecoman Turtle Camp