2014 Cozumel Turtle Season Update

by Biol. C. Ricardo Peralta M.

Hello everyone!  It’s nice to be back this year to share some information about the Cozumel Turtle program and share some trivia about our shell covered friends.  First off, let’s start with some turtle trivia:

Cozumel Turtle Trivia:  Did you know that in taxonomy turtles are classified depending on how they fold their neck? The 2 main groups are called Pleurodira (Pleuros = side) and Cryptodira (Cryptos =hidden) This is because turtle’s shells evolved depending on their environment to save them from predators.   Sea turtles belong to the Cryptodira class but  – additionally they have also developed a lighter shell –  which is perfect for swimming.

This year’s Cozumel Turtle Season:  So far we’ve marked and identified approximately 1,500 turtle nests.  This number is significantly less than the past two years.  There are a few reasons for this.  The past two years we had record number of nestings.  For example in 2013 there were over 3,300 nests, and in 2012 there were over 5, 200.  Also, we’ve had a really hot summer.  That affects the turtles as they dig their nests.  The hot sand is dryer and makes it more difficult for the turtle moms.

Cozumel is fortunate to be a breeding area to two species of turtles, the loggerhead (careta careta) and the green turtle (chelonian mydas).  Turtles in Cozumel are protected under both civil and penal codes, with the first decree of protection appearing in publication in “Diario Oficial de la Federación,” back in 1927.  During the months of May through September these turtles come ashore to lay their eggs on Cozumel’s eastern beaches.  Sea turtles generally lay between 150-200 eggs each time and can nest up to 6 times in a breeding season.  The eggs take around 60 days to incubate before the baby turtles head toward the sea.

Cozumel Turtle T-Shirts will be available when the releasing season officially begins on August 15. They will be available both at our offices in the Ecology Department as well as the turtle trailer – located on the windward side of the island.

Cozumel’s turtle program trailer, located on the windward side of the island, is sponsored by the Municipal Department of Ecology. Their offices are located in the Centoe Park on Av. 65, just south of the event hall “Moby Dick.” Staff will be in the office from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm Weekdays. please contact Ricardo, at  charlesrichard527@hotmail.com  call the Ecology office at 872 5795.

For more great Cozumel Information

This story originally appeared in the weekly Cozumel 4 You NEWS – the island’s number one source of positive information about our island!  Be sure and subscribe to the weekly NEWS to find out all the island events!

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