Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Turtle Releasing in Todos Santos

One evening in February my wife and I plus some friends took a trip to a secluded beach near Todos Santos.  This is on the west coast of the Baja Penninsula on the Pacific side.

We arranged to help transport new born turtles from their protected nesting site to the waters edge.  We left at approx. 7pm and arrived just before 8pm as the sun was just starting to set.

It is important that they are transported at this time as the sun acts as a reference point for the turtles, but it is just dark enough that the birds cannot easily see the turtles and do not swoop down and eat them all.

There were almost 30 people there in total as we actually came with a tour bus, however typically there are only about 10 people there.

A serious scientific side to things too!
The little guys take a while to get moving
After finding out lots about the turtles, their breading and nesting habits etc, we were all ushered to a line in the sand 10m from the water, where we were each given a turtle to care for and to release into the waters.

My friend with one of the little leatherbacks!
Having such a new born in your hands is quite amazing, particularly as they already have the instinct inside them to run toward the ocean and the sun.  They all had beautiful patterns on their shells and their skin was smooth and soft, yet tough like leather.

The site we visited was run by Todos Las Playitas and they are a really great team who are very caring and very knowledgeable.  Primarily funded by donations and merchandise the volunteers do a fantastic job of helping these endangered species get back on their feet.

You are able to take part and support throughout the year whether it is with supporting the hatchling releases or relocating nests to safe zones, as outlined in the handy table below.  To make a full day of it you could time it in with a trip to Todos Santos in the day time, see my next blog post about visiting Todos Santos, Baja Sur.

 Nesting Season
Hatchling Releases 
 Olive Ridley
 July- November
 September- January
 August- January
 October- March
 October- April
 December- June

Oh and the sunsets! To die for

Please tell me about your similar experiences and if you visit after reading this let me know how it went.

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