Monday, January 11, 2010
I was down to do a bit of marketing and to watch the sunset and see what all the party noise at the jardin was all about and discovered when I walked over to the Sunset Park that there were guys there with a plastic tub of tiny baby turtles, waiting for the sun to go down. I asked this little kid if I could take a photo with a turtle in his hands and he was happy to do it. You can see they are really tiny - a perfect pelican hors d'oeuvre. I didn't stay to help because I had left home without putting on bug spray. Next time for sure.
I have borrowed an entry from our LM message board since Nancy had done such a good job of explaining why there is no advance notice for helping release these little gaffers after sunset.
Here is what she said:
"They are all endangered species and protected by Mexican and international law. It is illegal to eat eggs and hurt turtles, ut traditions are strong and until the locals that are doing this see that turtles are valuable in other ways, as a eco-tourism resource and as a jellyfish eaters things will not change.
Turtle releases can not be announced in advance because the turtles are released at sunset the day they are born. They are not released immediately during the day because the birds pick them off the beach and out of the water. Waiting to release the turtles more than a day weakens them. If possible, turtles should be allowed to crawl to the sea for at least 5 yards. This orientates them to remember were they came from. It is estimated that one in a thousand turtles survive to return. They face natural predators (including man), pollution, fishing nets, and injury from motors. They will return to an area within 5 miles of their release. Eggs are laid at night. Turtles are sometimes killed for their eggs by people that can't wait. Sometimes they are killed by motor vehicles that don't see them. If you see a turtle laying eggs, try to guard her from a distance and get a friend to go for help. The reserve is located on the La Manzanilla side of the old hotel, but down a few lots. The police should also help. Eating of turtle eggs is a tradition and a food source for locals. It is thought that the eggs are a natural Viagra. The importance of protecting our turtles by relocating eggs to enclosures were they can not be eaten by man or dogs, or vibrated to death by vehicles is a notion that is catching on. If you are on a beach and see turtles being hatched a la natural, and the birds are picking them off as they head to the sea you could protect them in a tub with wet sand in the shade and release them at sunset."