Story By: Pol F, Sub-Editor: Joe Golder, Agency: Newsflash
The reduced human presence on the beaches due to confinement and fishing restrictions due to COVID-19 has led to a historic and never before recorded level of olive ridley turtles hatching in Mexico.
Some 2,289 olive ridleys (Lepidochelys olivacea) have hatched on Mancha Blanca del Desemboque beach, on the coast of the Sea of Cortez, located in the municipality of Pitiquito, which is in the state of Sonora in North-Western Mexico during the current hatching season which is expected to continue to rise until around 4th November.
About 500 turtles are born in a normal year but since the beach was closed at the beginning of the pandemic, many turtles were able to lay their eggs without any interference.
Mayra Estrella Astorga, the coordinator of the turtle hatching area of the Seri indigenous community, told Efe that this event was “spectacular”.
Astorga explained that this miracle happened “because of the pandemic” and that the current level of turtle hatchlings had never happened previously.
The activist said it was in part the human presence on the beach but also in part because they did not allow boats for tourists or fishermen either.
Astorga noted that 2020 has been an incredibly difficult year for the Seri indigenous people who inhabit the region.
She says that COVID-19 has left illness, death, and nearly destroyed their economy, so with the turtles they have something to be happy about.
The Seri community organized recently a release of 720 turtles in an event in which the vocalist of the Mexican musical band Cafe Tacvba, Ruben Albarran, participated, recognizing the effort that the native population does to preserve this species.
The alternative rock singer said: “It is really very nice to see the Comcaac tribe showing responsibility and the beautiful relationship they have with their environment.”
He added: “We all can learn from their awareness and relationship they have to keep the environment safe.”.
At the moment, 2,289 olive ridley turtles have already been born.
The olive ridley turtle is included in The International Union for Conservation of Nature (ICUN) Red list, listed as vulnerable and decreasing.
The main risks that threaten this species are the trafficking of their eggs as aphrodisiac delicacies and illegal or accidental fishing, as reported by InfoBae.
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