This year more than 3,106 turtle nests have been discovered in Cozumel,Mexico,breaking all previous records,according to the island's head of ecology, Rafael Chacon Diaz,who is in charge of the local government's environment and ecology department. This is great news for the endangered animals,whose preservation has been a top priority for the island of Cozumel.
Chacon said that most of the sea turtle nests were discovered on the east coast of Cozumel real estate,on the beaches of Playa Box and Playa Bonita. With several months left this year for turtle nesting season in the region,the numbers are sure to impress,having already passed last year's total and coming in at more than 4 times higher than the number of nests that were found several years ago.
This year,the newly hatched turtles also received some help from local children,who worked with the municipality's Marina Turtle Protection Committee to release more than 700 baby turtles last week as part of an educational outreach program. The program aims to teach youngsters about the importance of conservation efforts surrounding the turtles,which could easily become extinct without protection from locals and tourists.
Each year from May through November,the sea turtles deposit thousands of eggs in nests all along Cozumel's eastern coast and the protection committee locates and moves the eggs to safe areas,releasing the babies into the sea after they hatch. Hector Gonzalez,who is the island's director of ecology,said they hope that the number of hatchlings released in 2011 will surpass 2010's numbers,which nearly reached 5,000. Despite these efforts,Gonzalez said that only one out of every 1,000 will reach the age of 25,which is when sea turtles are considered to be fully mature.
As part of ongoing efforts to educate the public about the importance of protecting these majestic creatures,Cozumel's government has opened a portable turtle information office that will travel around on the island's eastern coast and promote conservation efforts.