June 5 is World Environment Day and here at Royal Resorts we are always looking for ways to help protect the planet. This time we would like to share some news about our special summer visitors, the sea turtles. We already have the first nests of the season at The Royal Sands, where there are six nests and 707 eggs in the corral. Security staff are also watching over a further nine nests and 890 eggs at The Royal Mayan, The Royal Caribbean and The Royal Islander.
Staff and guests have reported seeing turtle tracks in the sand and sightings of turtles in the water waiting for nightfall when they will struggle ashore to dig their nests in the sand. We hope that these early arrivals will be the first of many during the 2013 season.
The Mexican Caribbean coast is one of the world’s most important nesting areas for the green turtle (Chelonia mydas) and also welcomes the loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) turtles. The largest of the world’s turtle species, the leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) is an extremely rare visitor.
Biologists, hotel personnel, members of the armed forces and volunteers participate in the statewide turtle conservation campaign. They patrol beaches in Cancun, the Riviera Maya, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres and the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve where turtles come ashore and are on the lookout as they emerge from the sea and struggle up the beach to dig their nests in the sand. Their presence helps deter poachers and keeps predators such as dogs, raccoons, seabirds and crabs away from the nests and eggs.
Royal Resorts is proud to participate in the campaign and has been protecting turtles since 1985. Formal record keeping began in 1998 and to date we have protected 5,444 nests and released 433,080 baby turtles!
During the summer nights, security guards at The Royal Sands, The Royal Mayan, The Royal Caribbean and The Royal Islander watch over the turtles. When they encounter a female turtle, they watch from a distance as she laboriously digs her nest and then move in to tag and measure her when she begins to lay her eggs. She may lay anything from 80 to 120 eggs and sometimes up to 200!
The clutch of eggs is collected and transferred to an enclosure further up the beach out of harm’s way. Guards must dig a nest that emulates the shape and depth of the original nest and label it with details of the species, the number of eggs, the date and time. They keep watch over the corral and patiently wait for the first baby of the season.
The eggs hatch 45 to 60 days later and resort guests help staff release the baby turtles at dusk. Watching these tiny creatures make that frenzied dash down the beach to the waves is always a moving experience. Hopefully, in 12 to 15 years, some of them will return to the beaches of the Mexican Caribbean to lay their own eggs.
Stay posted for more updates in the weeks to come and if you are staying with us during the summer, please join us in protecting these beautiful creatures by following these guidelines.
If you see a turtle on the beach
* Alert the security staff.
* Be very quiet and keep still
* Watch from a distance (five meters) and do not attempt to touch the turtle or crowd her.
* Do not shine a torch in her direction or use your flash when taking pictures.
* If you bring your children to help release the hatchlings, make sure that they follow instructions and please, no flash photography.
* No smoking
If the turtle is frightened by loud noises, people and bright lights, she will leave the beach without nesting and lay her eggs in the water, thus losing the entire clutch (90 to 110 eggs).
Under Mexican law it is illegal to persecute and hunt sea turtles or steal their eggs