What is the baby sea turtle release about?

by | Mar 21, 2022

“Baby Sea Turtle Release”. Surely you have heard the phrase on more than one occasion, but do you know exactly what this ecotourism activity is about?

How does this process occur?

Seven of the eight species of sea turtles that exist in the world reach Mexican coasts to lay their eggs. This phenomenon occurs both in the Pacific and in certain parts of the Gulf and the Caribbean. The female turtles look for a good place to make a nest, which they create by digging a hole about 40 to 50 centimeters deep. Once the nest is made, they deposit their fertilized eggs in it and cover them with sand. About two months later, the baby turtles hatch and begin pushing sand to the surface.

A tiny percentage of turtles make it to the surface. This is because the vast majority are captured by predators, among which, the main one is the human being. Those who make it have to face other risks on their way to adulthood, to the extent that only two or three out of 100 will reach maturity. The idea of releasing turtles is to facilitate their journey to the surface and then to the sea, thus increasing the chances of them surviving. It is an important task, since several of these species are found threatened or even in danger of extinction.

The release takes place every day around sunset, at approximately 5:00 p.m. Due to the nature of the activity, it is ideal for people of all ages and you can share it with your family, friends or partner.

How to release sea turtles? Here is the procedure.

Initially you will receive a talk from those in charge. There you will learn more about this marine species, whose scientific name is Lepidochelys olivacea. Until a few years ago, turtle nests were common on the Oaxacan coast. However, due to the gastronomic culture of the region, as well as natural predators, the species has become endangered.

In adulthood, a sea turtle can measure up to 67 centimeters and weigh almost 100 kilograms. Per season, a female lays between 80 and 150 eggs. The higher the temperature, the greater the probability that females will hatch from the eggs.

Once your turtle is designated, you can choose to give it a name. The newborn will be delivered to you in a gourd or “jícara” in spanish. You must be careful not to let it fall and that it does not have contact with your body, since you could contaminate its yolk sac, a reserve of nutrients that it has in its chest. If it becomes infected, your turtle could die.

Release the newborn sea turtles!

After approaching a few meters to the beach, you must put your little turtle in the sand. Don’t rush! Newborn sea turtles know how to get to the sea thanks to the sound of the waves. However, like all lives, the first minutes of the little golfina’s life in freedom is put to the test. Seagulls are an imminent danger that lurks around waiting for an opportunity to feast on their prey. Not all specimens reach the sea, so you have to keep in mind that as beautiful as nature can be, it also has its wild side.

On the other hand, if your turtle reaches the sea you will be able to perceive the beginning of a possible long life. Olive Ridley sea turtles can live for at least 50 years. As if that weren’t enough, they are philopatric animals, you can be sure that one day they will return to the beach where you released them to reproduce and thus multiply the life cycle in which you were a part.

This video will give you an idea of how it’s done:

“Now that you know how to release turtles, you are ready for one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. In addition to helping the conservation of a species, it’s a moment where you can feel part of nature and its life cycles, something you will remember forever”

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