Morgan, my granddaughter, is volunteering at the turtle sanctuary. She goes out at night and patrols the beaches of Playa Larga and Barra de Potosi looking for signs of turtle nests and for laying turtles. When nests are discovered they are carefully removed and transported back to the turtle sanctuary’s incubator area and reburied at the exact same depth that mama turtle placed them. Then the nest is labeled with the exact geographical coordinates of their original location, time and date and any other information they might have about the particular nest. When a laying turtle is discovered they stay with her until she is finished laying her eggs and safely back to sea. They do this to protect the mama turtle from predators, both man, wild dog packs and other wild animals that might be about. Only one in 1000 of the little hatch-lings will live to adulthood to mate and return to the beach where they were hatched to continue this life cycle. That is why this project is so important.
When the nest hatches in about 60 days the turtles are care fully released on the sand at sunset. They head towards the light of the setting sun and then swim out to sea. The staff and volunteers are careful not to handle the babies so no human bacteria is transfer to the babies. And what is best of all you can personally participate in the almost nightly turtle releases. The staff will give you your turtle(s) in a little bowl and when instructed you gently let the turtle slip out of your bowl on to the sand and the race to the sea is on!
The sanctuary does a lot of work with the local children, teaching them why it is wrong to harvest and eat turtle eggs, or turtle meat. They have camps during the summer and work with the schools during the rest of the year. If you are in Mexico with children this is a must see project. They will learn a lot about turtles and their life cycle and have an unforgettable experience. If you are an adult, you also will learn a lot and enjoy the great experience of giving mother nature a helping hand.
There is a $200 peso donation asked for visiting the turtle sanctuary and participating in the turtle releases,and all donations are appreciated. This is an all volunteer program. They do have programs where for a nominal fee you can adopt a nest and of course T shirts and other souvenirs are available for purchase to help fund this very important program. There are almost always volunteers from the sanctuary at the Eco- Tianguis Sanka, the little Saturday morning market that sets up across the street from the museum next to the school. They will be more than happy to share their knowledge of turtles and the releases. Signing off KO