Last year proved to be another extraordinary turtle season at Royal Resorts. Security staff at The Royal Sands, The Royal Mayan, The Royal Caribbean and The Royal Islander watched over 647 turtle nests and with the help of guests released 65,703 baby turtles. This meant that the record-breaking season was even better than 2011, when 61,499 hatchlings were freed.
Royal Resorts has been participating in the annual Cancún sea turtle conservation campaign since 1985. Formal record keeping started in 1998 and in 14 years we have protected 5,444 nests and released 433,080 baby turtles! We hope that this summer’s number of turtle eggs and births (the fifteenth since records began) will be even more astounding.
The record-breaking season wasn’t just confined to the beaches of Cancún, Flora, Fauna and Cultura de Mexico, A.C., the NGO that runs the turtle protection program in the Riviera Maya registered 14,436 nests and around 660,000 hatchlings! The season would have been even more remarkable were it not for the destructive power of Hurricane Ernesto; sadly 20 percent of the nests were washed away by the storm surge.
Flora, Fauna and Cultura biologists and volunteers patrol 13 Riviera Maya beaches from Playa del Carmen to San Juan in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, including Akumal and the Xcacel Turtle Sanctuary. In 17 years (1996-2012), 6,199,208 baby turtles have hatched along this stretch of coast and made their way down to the sea, thanks to their vigilance.
The beaches of the Mexican Caribbean are some of the world’s most important nesting sites for two species of sea turtles: the green and loggerhead. The hawksbill turtle also nests on the north coast of the Yucatán, and the world’s largest turtle, the leatherback visits occasionally. A recent study identified 12 turtle feeding zones in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, further underlining the importance of the area to the survival of these endangered creatures.