Record Number Of Endangered Turtles Hatch In Mexico
While the ongoing heath crisis has negatively impacted many things across the globe, one thing it’s thought to have done is help turtles in Mexico increase in numbers.
A staggering 2,250 baby olive ridley sea turtles were released into the Gulf of California recently, when typically around 500 of the rare sea creatures are released each year.
Due to the pandemic limiting human activity, the turtles were able to hatch undisturbed, meaning more of them survived; fishermen and tourists usually end up disturbing their nests.
The babies were released by the indigenous Seri community in Sonora state, reported BBC News. Olive ridley turtles are usually found in warmer waters and can often located in the southern Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.
As it stands, the turtles are classed as ‘vulnerable’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List, despite them being ‘in abundance’ compared to the likes of sea turtles. They’re also listed as ‘threatened’ in the US.
The reason for their ‘vulnerable’ status is due to the turtles seeing around a 50% decrease in population since the 1960s.
Despite many governments having laws in place to protect the turtles, according to the WWF, some of the biggest threats these turtles face are human activities such as poaching.
Olive ridleys face serious threats across their migratory route, habitat and nesting beaches, due to human activities such as turtle unfriendly fishing practices, development and exploitation of nesting beaches for ports, and tourist centres.
Though international trade in these turtles and their products is banned under CITES Appendix I, they are still extensively poached for their meat, shell and leather, and their eggs, though illegal to harvest, have a significantly large market around the coastal regions.
The WWF continued, ‘The most severe threat they face is the accidental killing of adult turtles through entanglement in trawl nets and gill nets due to uncontrolled fishing during their mating season around nesting beaches.’
The eggs and hatchlings are also prey for many animals, added the National Geographic. Many hatchlings ‘perish before reaching the ocean’ due to being taken by animals including racoons, birds, and snakes.
With this in mind, it demonstrates how significant it is that 2,250 of the turtles were successfully released into the ocean.
May they live long and prosper.
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