Here is the latest Cancun sea turtle nesting season news for 2017. Summer turtle nesting season is in full swing at Royal Resorts in Cancun, the Riviera Maya and elsewhere in the Mexican Caribbean. It has been a busy few weeks, with seven turtles in one night at The Royal Sands only to be followed by another six the next day and then an incredible 15 on June 22! The tally of nests to date at The Royal Sands, The Royal Caribbean and The Royal Islander in Cancun has grown steadily and now stands at 625 with 73,635 eggs under guard in the turtle nurseries (as of August 1). This is way up on the same period in 2016, in fact, the number of eggs is almost triple the season total for last year.
Five turtles have come ashore on the beach at The Royal Haciendas in the Riviera Maya. Turtles rarely nest on the beach at The Royal Haciendas and when they do the biologists that patrol the bay move the eggs to a corral at a neighboring resort to the north.
First babies of the season
And there’s even more great Cancun sea turtle nesting season news to share with you, the first baby turtles of the summer at Royal Resorts have been born! More than 1,237 eggs have already hatched at The Royal Sands, The Royal Islander and The Royal Caribbean and security guards have released the tortuguitas after dark to scuttle across the sand towards the waves and a new life at sea.
More Cancun & Riviera Maya turtle news
The 2017 Cancun sea turtle nesting season looks like being a very good one with lots of turtles coming ashore every night. Biologists working in the Cancun City Hall turtle conservation program reported that there are already more than 2,361 nests in 44 corrals at hotels along the Cancun shoreline. The majority of the nests are green turtle 1,322, 33 are loggerhead, five are hawksbill and there has been one leatherback turtle nest.
Elsewhere in the Riviera Maya, Flora, Fauna y Cultura A.C., the conservation group that coordinates the turtle nesting camp in the Xcacel-Xcacelito Turtle Sanctuary recently revealed that since 1996, biologists and volunteers have protected 30,380 green turtle nests and more than 6,000 loggerhead turtle nests on the shores of this pristine bay.
Xcacel-Xcacelito is one of the most important sea turtle rookeries in the Americas.Turtles can nest up to six times in one season and lay an average of 100 to 120 eggs each time, just imagine how many baby turtles have scuttled across the sand towards the sea over the years on this beach. We hope that many more do so this year and throughout the Mexican Caribbean.
Turtle conservationists on the island of Cozumel have reported that they have already registered 830 green turtle and loggerhead turtle nests on one nesting beach, Punta Sur, and that this is already a record-breaking number. They expect the number of nests to top the 1,000 mark by the end of August.
Tracking sea turtles by satellite
In other sea turtle news, two adult male Hawksbill turtles and an Olive Ridley turtle that were nursed back to health in the turtle clinic in Xcaret Park have been released into the wild, this time wearing satellite trackers. The movements of the turtles through the Mexican Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico will be monitored as part of a study into critical sea turtle habitats in the region being undertaken by researchers based at the Centro de Investigacion y Estudios Avanzados of the National Polytechnic Institute (Cinvestav-IPN).
Sea turtles are at risk from climate change, becoming trapped in fishing nets as bycatch, coastal erosion affecting nesting beaches and oil pollution in the Gulf of Mexico. It is vital for scientists to identify the location and size of critical turtle habitats in the region.
“Sea turtles are sensitive to changes in their habitats and have a complex life cycle,” says Dr. Ana Negrete of Xcaret Park Conservation Department. “At different times in their lives they move between different marine and coastal ecosystems to feed, hide while they grow to adulthood, breed and nest. They are wide-ranging, migrating long distances that span large geographic areas such as the Gulf of Mexico or between countries.”
Additional satellite trackers will be fitted to the shells of hawksbill, green, loggerhead and Kemp’s Ridley turtles that come ashore in the states of Quintana Roo, Yucatan and Campeche or Tabasco and Veracruz. The research findings will be used to develop a multi-sector plan to protect turtles and their habitats in the Gulf of Mexico in the event of an oil spill.
Cancun sea turtle nesting season rules
Witnessing a sea turtle lay her eggs is an incredible experience, one that will awe you and bring a lump to your throat, but if you are lucky enough to see one, keep quiet and watch from a distance. Join us in protecting the sea turtles; follow the Cancun sea turtle nesting season rules:
• Alert resort security staff when you see a turtle on the beach at night
• Be very quiet and keep still. Loud noises, flashing lights and the movement of people startle nesting sea turtles and disrupt nesting, causing them to leave the beach without laying their eggs
• Watch from a distance of at least ten (33 feet) meters
• Do not attempt to touch the turtle or crowd her
• Do not shine a torch or use the light on your mobile phone
• Flash photography is strictly prohibited
• No smoking
• Follow the instructions given by security staff at all times
Turtles are protected by Mexican law and it is illegal to disturb them, persecute or hunt them and consume their meat or eggs. Last year, SEMARNAT, the Mexican Ministry of the Environment, enforced new rules for turtle nesting season to keep human contact with the fragile baby turtles to a minimum. The rules stipulate that hatchlings can only be released by trained security personnel and not by hotel guests. Failure to comply with these measures can lead to resorts losing the right to have turtle nurseries on site or to be part of the turtle protection campaign.
Help save the turtle year round
You can help protect sea turtles in the Mexican Caribbean year round, not just during the summer nesting season.
• Don’t litter, help keep our beaches and oceans clean. Discarded straws, plastic bags, beer packaging, fishing lines, cigarette butts and other garbage floating in the water are lethal to turtles and other marine life
• When snorkeling or diving watch turtles from a distance, do not swim towards them and do not attempt to touch them
• Wear a t-shirt when snorkeling as protection from the sun instead of applying sun block. Sun products pollute the water and are harmful to marine life
Say no to straws
Join the Royal Resorts no straws campaign and say no when offered a drinking straw. The Royal Resorts bars are no longer serving drinks on the rocks with a plastic straw and waiters will only bring them when specifically asked to do so. Straws discarded on the beach or floating in the water can seriously injure and kill sea turtles and other marine life.
Go one step further and say no to plastic bags, shop with reusable cloth or straw bags instead. Sea turtles become entangled or mistake floating plastic bags with the jellyfish that they prey on and ingest them with fatal consequences. Discarded fishing lines and nets, plastic beer packaging, cigarette butts and other garbage are also lethal to sea turtles. Please help keep our beaches and oceans clean.
Support conservation and the campaign against climate change. Global warming is causing rising sea temperatures and water acidification with grave consequences for sea turtles and other species.
Stay posted for more Cancun sea turtle nesting season news this summer on the Royal Resorts blog.
(Source of sea turtle satellite monitoring project information, Experiencias Xcaret; Cancun and Cozumel sea turtle statistics Novedades)
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