Summer means sea turtles here in the Mexican Caribbean and we bring you the latest turtle season update from Royal Resorts. There are now 71 turtle nests in the nurseries or corrals at The Royal Sands, The Royal Caribbean and The Royal Islander (July 21), at Grand Residences and at The Royal Haciendas, where nesting sea turtles are less common.
The first turtles of the season actually came ashore at The Royal Haciendas and at The Royal Sands in Cancun. In late May, a hawksbill turtle (tortuga carey) and loggerhead sea turtle (caguama) emerged from the waves and laid their eggs on the beach in the vicinity of The Royal Haciendas. The biologists leading turtle patrols along the shoreline decided to leave their nests in situ due to their location. A second loggerhead turtle came ashore in the first week of June and laid 152 eggs, which were moved to safety in the corral at a resort further down the beach. On July 10, a third loggerhead turtle laid 135 eggs.
Sea turtles rarely nest on the beach at The Royal Haciendas, but we hope that this season we will see more of them coming ashore.
On June 13, it was the turn of our Cancun resorts when a green sea turtle dug its nest on the beach in front of The Royal Sands. Patrolling biologists and volunteers moved the eggs to a corral further along the shoreline.
As of July 21, there were 71 nests in the turtle nurseries at The Royal Sands, The Royal Caribbean and The Royal Islander with 8,201 eggs. The majority of the nests contain eggs laid by green turtles (tortuga verde or blanca) and five by loggerhead turtles. Several nests have between 160 and 170 eggs!
The latest update from Grand Residences to the south of Puerto Morelos is that there are already four nests in the sea turtle nursery with 413 eggs. Two are green turtle nests, one is a loggerhead and the first was that of a leatherback turtle (tortuga laud), the largest turtle in the world and a rare visitor to the coast of Quintana Roo.
We hope that more sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs in the sand in front of our resorts in the days and weeks to come. And of course the first baby turtles of the season hatch in August so watch out for more news.
New rules for watching sea turtles this season
This year SEMARNAT, the Mexican Environmental Agency is coordinating the statewide sea turtle conservation campaign and the nesting season rules have changed significantly to protect sea turtles while also keeping human contact with our oceangoing summer visitors and their young to a minimum. The rules now state that trained security personnel must release the hatchlings, not guests. We know that this is something that many members look forward to, however, failure to comply with these new standards could lead to Royal Resorts losing the right to have turtle nurseries at the resorts or to be part of the turtle protection campaign.
Please read the following sea turtle nesting rules and help us protect these beautiful, ancient creatures that are sadly in danger of extinction.
Follow the Sea Turtle Nesting Season Rules
If you spot a sea turtle on the beach at night alert the security staff
Be very quiet and keep still
Watch from a distance of ten meters (33 feet)
Do not attempt to touch the sea turtle or crowd her
Do not shine a torch or use the light on your mobile phone
Please, no flash photography
Follow the instructions given by security staff at all times
Noise, lights and the movement of people may disturb a nesting sea turtle and startle her causing her to leave the beach without laying eggs. She may lay her eggs in the sea; just imagine over 100 precious turtle eggs lost because of noise, torchlight or people getting too close.
Resort security staff will release the baby sea turtles at night to keep them safe from seagulls and frigate birds that are their natural predators. Due to changes in Mexican environmental law, it is no longer possible for guests to handle the turtles and help set them free.
If you spot a sea turtle when snorkeling or diving watch from a distance, do not swim towards it and do not attempt to touch it
Sun products contain chemicals that harm marine life, pollute the water and damage corals. As an alternative, wear a t-shirt when snorkeling as protection from the sun instead of applying sun block.
Help us to keep our beaches and sea clean. Sea turtles ingest plastic bags and other trash with fatal consequences, become tangled in fishing lines and nets and drown and have been found with horrific injuries caused by discarded straws and plastic beer packaging.
The sea turtle is protected by Mexican law and it is illegal to disturb or touch them, persecute or hunt them and consume their meat or eggs.
Stay posted for more sea turtle news from Royal Resorts, Grand Residences and other parts of the Mexican Caribbean during the 2016 season on the Royal Resorts blog, which you’ll find on our website www.royalresorts.com
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