Mexican conservation programme points to strong recovery for olive ridley sea turtles

On September 28, 2012 by MexicoToday

Thanks in large part to a major Mexican conservation programme at Playa Escobilla in Oaxaca, Mexico, the olive ridley sea turtle is beginning to make a strong recovery.

La Escobilla sanctuary is the largest nesting site for sea turtles in Mexico and sees the highest number of hatchings for the olive ridley sea turtle in the world. Back in 1973, La Escobilla beach saw less than 200,000 hatchings, but that number has swelled to over 1.5 million in 2012, proving that the olive ridley sea turtle is bouncing back.

Olive ridleys are known for their pecular hatching habit, choosing to nest in mass numbers called arribadas. Playa Escobilla is the site of nesting for 95 per cent of the sea turtles that nest in Mexico.

For the past 6 years, more than 200 million olive ridleys hatchlings—or newborns—have been released from Playa Escobilla. Many of these turtles will return to the exact same spot in 30 years to deposit their own eggs.

According to Mexican environmental officials, Mexico has spent nearly £6.8 million on projects that not only combat the extant threats to sea turtles but also covers the costs of setting up camps and buying equipment to protect the turtles’ habitats.

Mexico has long prided itself on its conservation programmes, and the Mexican eco-tourism industry has really begun to take off in the country in the past few years. In fact, Oaxaca is also home to the National Mexican Turtle Center, which draws visitors from all over the globe.

Extracting turtle eggs has been illegal in Mexico for 85 years. A ban on the capture and sale of sea turtles has been law in Mexico for 22 years.

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