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Monday, May 12, 2008

2008 Marine Turtle Season Opening

Last Friday, 9th of May, the Turtle Conservation Comitee presided over the official opening for the 2008 Turtle Conservation Season. Quintana Roo is one of the most important states in Mexico regarding Marine Turtle Conservation. Every year it receives four species: Chelonia mydas (green turtle), Eretmochelys imbricata (hawksbill), Caretta caretta (loggerhead) y Dermochelys coriacea (leather back). From 1996 to 2007, the Protection & Conservation Program of the Sea Turtle in the Riviera Maya has protected 12,004 Loggerhead and 16,447 of Green turtle nests. In the same program there have been released 1,133,112 Loggerhead and 1,628,079 Green turtle babies who are expected to be returning in future years.

Results from the databases of all the organizations involved in the Comitee, including Amigos de Sian K'an and GVI, were also presented. It showed a positive tendency for the Green turtle nestings and releases. However, loggerhead numbers were shown to be decreasing. This data is interesting as a similar trend has been seen in the United States. However, more studies on this matter must be done as there is still a lot of information unknown or inconclusive regarding sea turtles.

Finally, a methodology called “Analyis of Pressures and Threats” was presented by an invited Mexican NGO called Pronatura. This method is intended to be followed by all the organizations in order to determine the most threatened areas in Quintana Roo and identify and rank its causes as to put in place more accurate strategies for Sea Turtle Conservation in the State.

Pez Maya and Mahahual Expedition Members will, like previous years, continue gathering data from in-water sightings and nesting turtles from our expedition sites. EMs from Tulum and the Marine Expeditions will also have the opportunity to take part in the satellite camp of Xcacel, where our partner organizations Flora, Fauna y Cultura de Mexico have one of the most important turtle conservation camps, and where EMs stay for 2-3 days learning everything there is to know about turtles, their nests and eggs...and help release plenty of turtles to the big ocean!