Cozumel Sea Turtle Rescue
Every year tourists from around the world travel to the subtropical Mexican island of Cozumel to observe, support and participate in the annual loggerhead and green turtle breeding season and rescue that runs from May 15 through the end of October.
Beaches on Cozumel’s eastern shore have been the birthplace of millions of loggerhead and green turtles and the island is quickly becoming a vacation destination for folks who would like to spend time on the island assisting local officials in the preservation of these beautiful sea turtles.
Mexico’s Comision National de Areas Naturales Protegidas (National Commission of Natural Protected Areas) relies on the assistance of volunteering locals and tourists alike to help protect the area’s sea turtle population.
Mother turtles start arriving on the Cozumel shore during the nighttime hours in June and July every year and dig nests as deep as three feet where they deposit up to a hundred eggs that will begin to hatch sixty days later.
Baby turtles instinctively wait for darkness and cooler temperatures to more safely climb out of their nests and it can take as long as three days for them to emerge from the nests’ depths and head for the ocean. Very often the first baby turtles to hatch and leave the nest pack sand on top of the others in their efforts to climb to the surface which makes hatching and climbing out the deep nest more difficult for baby turtles in eggs situated deeply within the nest.
Volunteers assist by whisking away excess heavy sand from nests to better enable the baby turtles to emerge from deep within the nest and make their way to the ocean to begin their lives as sea turtles.
When local officials locate a newly hatched nest after all the babies have left, they dispatch volunteers to count and record the numbers of hatched and unhatched eggs in each nest.
Volunteer efforts are essential to ensuring the health and conservation of populations of loggerhead and green sea turtles that call the local waters home.
Fees are charged for a variety of turtle search and rescue experiences on the island and donations are always welcome. More information can be found about the sea turtle rescue by clicking on the website of the local newspaper, The Cozumel Sun News, at www.thecozumelsun.com.
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