Sinaloa, a national benchmark in sea turtle conservation

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On World Sea Turtle Day, a fundamental part of its protection has to do with programs and camps; in southern Sinaloa there are more than 5 places that dedicate their lives to these species

MAZATLAN. – June 16 marks the World Day of Sea Turtles, animals that are in danger of extinction and that in the world there are approximately 7 species that swim from one place to another in search of beaches for their nesting process.
The Mexican Pacific coasts are one of those places in the world, in fact, according to the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, it has a record where Mexico is the second country that enjoys, year after year, the visit of these 7 species, and Sinaloa is one of those privileged places to receive at least four of the species.
The 7 species are leatherback, loggerhead, green turtle, kikila turtle, hawksbill turtle, olive ridley turtle and loggerheadsarrive in Sinaloa, but especially olive ridleys, which have become the most nesting species from Elota to Escuinapa.
For its protection, southern Sinaloa has at least five camps, sanctuaries and protection and conservation programs, becoming heroes for the repopulation of species and here.
Iván Guardado González, responsible for the Ceuta Beach Turtle Sanctuary, in the municipality of Elota, mentioned that his strongest work begins this June, where night brigades are installed to monitor the arrival of turtles and protect them from hunters who go in search of the eggs, which are sold on the black market at exaggerated prices due to their high value.
“We work from June to December… What we do is that every night we walk 40 kilometers of beach and look for the nests, each one is collected, brought back and planted in Styrofoam boxes or we dig the nests in the same way as if the turtle would have done it,” he said.
Once these nests are installed, they keep them safe until a few months later and we analyze how many eggs, of the total that nested, achieved their gestation process, they study the temperatures of each nest, the depth, they count how many females and males were born and, now yes, they release them.
In its investigations, Semarnat analyzed that part of these conservation programs is also due to the level of survival of the species, since it is estimated that only one in every thousand offspring reaches adulthood.
One of the challenges that the camps and sanctuaries face are turtle egg hunters, however, there are cases, such as that of the El Recreo community, that its proximity to El Verde Camacho Beach and its interaction with researchers made them protective.
Efraín Ramírez Tirado, in charge of the El Verde Camacho Turtle Camp, in Mazatlán, said that, at the beginning, it has been difficult to raise awareness among people about the protection of sea turtles, however, the community has become an example that the mentality can change, and that, from generation to generation, respect for other species can be instilled.
“When the biologist Daniel Ríos began with a specialized study on the protection of turtles, there he met people from here in El Recreo who did their predation on the beach. They taught him how the turtle moved, how the tides worked, and their interaction turned them into protectors, leaving predation aside,” he commented.
Currently, the El Verde Camacho Tortuguero Camp is an area monitored and regulated by the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas, as it is an area of mangroves, marine species and migratory birds.
Some of the threats by which sea turtles are in danger is the garbage that is dumped in the oceans, they usually ingest plastics when they are confused with jellyfish. The fishing nets where they usually get caught, by accidental fishing, put their lives at risk when they rise to the surface to breathe.
Another is the illegal trade in their shells, skin, eggs or meat, as well as climate change, the destruction of their habitat and invasive tourism are causes that make them seriously threatened.
One of the best known in Mazatlán is the Sea Turtle Protection Program, which was the Mazatlán Aquarium and which currently became part of the Beach Operator and Administrator, it receives municipal resources to operate, but for the person in charge of this one, José Barrón, more support is needed so that there are more camps.
“The government should allocate more support to the turtle camps, unfortunately they work with the minimum capacity to protect the number of nests and in Sinaloa we have a case, a camp that is probably one of the best and is not operating (Rosario ) due to lack of resources,” he commented.
The paramunicipal program, in one year, has released close to 100,000 calves in a single season, increasing its level of importance due to the fact that its work area is in the middle of the urban area, from Brujas beach, in Cerritos, to Olas Altas.
The head and founder of the Program for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles of Estrella de Mar in Mazatlán, Eréndida González, explained that camps like these are of great importance for scientific dissemination, but especially to achieve the conservation of the species.
“This helps us to give continuity to such an important species that is found in the upper level of the tropic chain. It is not easy to have a camp, but seeing that the turtles return to nest in the place where they were born after completing their sexual reproduction gives us satisfaction”, she added.
Currently it is one of the camps with the most collection of nests, which can reach over 2 thousand, which give an average of around 193 thousand 543 eggs each. Adding up, in almost all of southern Sinaloa, close to 500 thousand eggs collected or more.

Source: Punto