Turtle Release in Cabo for Kids | iTravel-Cabo Kids
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Turtle Release

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Public YouTube video of a release

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Turtle Release 

Cabo Turtle Release

 

One of the highlights for most kids who visit Cabo, is the Turtle Release Program. Most releases take place in the fall which coincides with the annual whale migration and youngsters are invited to participate in co-operation with the local conservation programs.

The main turtle species represented in the program are Olive Ridley turtles and Leatherback turtles. Olive Ridley females nest in Los Cabos from June through December, Leatherback females from November through February.

After a two month incubation process, hatchlings claw their way out of the nest and instinctively head straight towards the sea. Unfortunately, many are eaten by birds and crabs before they reach the water, and those that do make it often fall prey to fish. Increasing beach development is also a major problem, as they are programmed to head of the brightest light – normally the reflected light from the sea. However, lights from hotels and beach homes disorient the baby turtles and draws them away from the relative protection of the waves.  Nursery programs have therefore become hugely important for sea turtle survival rates because from every batch of eggs laid by the female, only one or two will survive to maturity and return to breed on the same beach that they hatched.

Turtles are protected by Mexican law and those protected in the Baja are; Leatherback, Olive Ridley, Hawksbill, Loggerhead and Eastern Pacific Green Turtles.

Sea Turtles can take 30 years to grow to sexual maturity as is the case with the Pacific green turtles and many can eventually grow to 300-400 pounds! Unfortunately even today with these protected turtle nurseries there is a great deal of education and enforcement necessary to ensure their survival. Mexicans for many years depended on eating Sea Turtles (Cahuama as it is called in Spanish) and it is believed that eating the blood and oils of the Cahuama brings great health and virility, making it difficult to change some people’s minds. Tradition is ever the enemy of conservation.

One of the most popular and well organized releases is operated by Hilton Los Cabos and you can find out more about that here

The largest overall Sea Turtle protection and conservation programs is operated by Grupo Torugeo de Las Californias (Sea Turtle Conservation Network). Grupo Tortugeo A.C. was founded by Wallace J. Nichols a researcher of sea turtles from the U.S. He started this organization to educate by holding meetings with the fishing co-ops even in the smallest and more remote areas of Baja as to the need to protect the turtles.

The other main program is run by  Asupmatoma Asociacion Civil and is a volunteer organization started in 1995 that handles the protection of the sea turtles by moving their eggs to a protected breeding area north of Cabo San Lucas, by the water desalination plant in front of the Diamante Golf course. They take the eggs from various turtle nests at night and transplant them to this location for gestation. The different nests are marked with dates, quantities of eggs, expected hatch date and when ready the staff dig up the nest, remove the hatchlings and prepare them to be released immediately by the many willing volunteers.

Volunteers such as your kids!

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