Meet Don Fernando, the guardian of the sea turtles in Mazatlán

Marine biologist Fernando Enciso has spent most of his life promoting turtle camps, rescuing nests, and releasing young specimens back into the sea.

Mazatlán, Sinaloa (August 9, 2020). Not even the coronavirus pandemic stopped marine biologist Fernando Enciso Saracho in his work as a turtle guardian, work that he undertook since 1977 when he joined the first social service brigade at the Ceuta Beach Turtle Camp.

Several arrivals of sea turtles have been observed on Mazatlan beaches between March and July of this year, prior to the high season, which marks a phenomenon not seen before and that could be related to climate change.

He has a Master’s degree in Fisheries Sciences, which he carried out with a work of accidental capture of turtles by shrimp boats, and although he is already retired as a college professor at the Autonomous University of Sinaloa (UAS), where he taught the subject of Ecology at the School of Marine Sciences, he continues collaborating as a senior advisor in the Ceuta and Caimanero turtle camps, as well as the Cerritos Sea Turtle Rescue group.

He began in 1977 as a brigade member at the Turtle Camp in Playa Ceuta, upon finishing his studies at the UAS School of Marine Sciences in 1980, he took charge of that program until he retired in 2012. In 1986 he founded the Caimanero turtle camp.

Don Fernando says that the sea turtle was endangered as a result of a very strong fishery that occurred in 1968, and Mazatlán was one of the main markets in the country where its meat, skin, oil, and blood were collected for be commercialized.

The biologist added that thanks to the turtle camps, in recent years there has been a significant recovery of the sea turtle population; However, in addition to predation, another problem arose in 2005, which has to do with climate change. In the first year, the birth rate dropped by as much as 10%, as temperatures rose to lethal levels for eggs and hatchlings, whose range should not exceed 26 to 35 degrees.

For Don Fernando Enciso, the arrival of turtles this year prior to the normal season, which is from July to December, represents a phenomenon never seen before, since we’re not talking about one or two, but a considerable number of sea turtles that came out to the sand to spawn between March. and July, at least he has a record of 30 confirmed and documented cases.

He said that this research project has been called “Analysis of Nesting Prior to the Normal Season”, and that he plans to present the case at the next International Symposium on Biology and Conservation of the Sea Turtle that will be held in Colombia.

Source: OEM

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