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A Journey Into Paradise

Mexico Leads International Sea Turtle Conservation Efforts

08 September, 2013

On both its Pacific and its Caribbean coastlines,Mexico has established that it will remain a world leader in efforts to preserve and protect the thousands of sea turtles who visit the nation’s beaches every year from approximately May through October. During this time,visitors and locals alike are given the amazing opportunity to bear witness to these ancient creatures coming ashore to lay countless eggs before covering the  “nests” with sand and heading back to sea.

Although these gentle giants have been in danger during the last century,a number of government,private and corporate entities are hard at work to ensure Mexico’s sea turtles will remain protected for many generations to come – and beyond. For example,the San Francisco Gate reports that more than 90 percent of beachfront hotels in Cancun and nearby Puerto Morelos work closely with the area city councils and department of ecology to protect the turtles.

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For example,barriers are constructed to protect the eggs,and also to construct makeshift temporary corrals that will protect the turtles upon hatching. Finally,the hatchlings are released into the sea,often as hotel guests and locals watch­ on,taking in a breathtaking spectacle that has been taking place for millennia.

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“Sea turtles have roamed the oceans for close to two million years,surviving assaults that doomed the dinosaurs,” writes Andrew Revkin for the New York Times Opinion Pages from his Dot Earth blog. “Communities that once depended on sea turtle poaching and other activities that once depended on sea turtle poaching are now testing a new economic model,built around fishing with turtle conservation in mind and tourism focused on the area’s extraordinary marine life.”

Revkin is working on a documentary film following Grupo Tortuguero,a coalition of groups in Mexico who are “working to balance economic advancement with environmental protection and striving to create a better life for both the community and the endangered sea turtles,according to the New York Times. In addition,Mexican officials are demonstrating concern and considering all options in discussions with American Marine fisheries and biologists who are currently studying turtle deaths in Mexico’s Baja Region,near popular vacation and ex-pat hotspot Cabo San Lucas.

Perhaps the most interesting find in 2013 related to Mexico’s sea turtles involved the discovery of a turtle that had been tagged off California’s Baja Peninsula in 2005 and was just found this summer in Japan,as reported by National Geographic.

“A museum on Yakushima confirmed that the tagged loggerhead is the first known occurrence of an individual loggerhead crossing the Pacific Ocean from Mexico to Japan,Kyodo News reported,”