Sunday, January 6, 2013

Baby Turtles at Troncones

In between a couple of stays at The Ranch, we also stayed at a place called Troncones, just north of Zihautanejo.  We rolled up next to a fancyish hotel and parked in a public parking area for a few nights--right on the beach!  See a picture of the neighborhood leader below:

One night, we took a walk on the beach and found some conservationists releasing baby sea turtles. These little guys face a tough welcome to the world. All 7 species are endangered and humans are a huge threat to their existence. For example, thousands of Mexican Catholics travel to the Pacific coast during the week preceding Easter (Lent) in search of sea turtles and other seafood. Apparently, turtles aren't considered "meat". During this short period of time, as many as 5,000 turtles are consumed in this region alone. Estimates reach as high as 35,000 sea turtles killed a year in Mexico.

After this post was originally written, we continued to head down the coast to the state of Oaxaca.  We stopped in a town called Juchitán, where we walked around the town plaza doing what we often do - gawk at the food and produce.  Scott asked a vendor what the white, melted balls were on her table.  Her answer,  "huevos de tortuga". I'm pretty sure that is highly illegal.  Recent news story: Traffickers Arrested in Mexico with 22,000 Turtle Eggs

Assuming the eggs survive, and aren't picked up by humans or other animals, they must incubate for around 60-days. Then, the baby turtles peck themselves out of their shells and dig themselves out out of their buried nests.  They never meet their parents.  If they don't make it to the ocean quickly, many will die of dehydration or be caught by predators. The obstacles are so numerous for baby turtles that only about one in 1,000 survives to adulthood.

It was magical watching these little guys scurry (in their own round-about way) to the ocean. In the end, various humans picked them up (including me) and helped them get to the water. If you want to learn more about why we care about saving the sea turtle go here. An interesting fact is that some species of the sea turtle are the only predators of the deadly box jellyfish. Yummy!

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