2016 Cozumel Municipal Turtle Program Outlined by Biol. Lemuel Vega

photo courtesy of Dirección De Medio Ambiente Y Ecología

photo courtesy of Dirección De Medio Ambiente y Ecología

Today, May 17, the local government and the Ecology Department are officially opening the 2016-nesting season; a season when we gladly look forward for your participation in the protection of the sea turtle. Your donation will be directly destined to the turtle preservation program as well as to its different actions and activities that have made this a very successful program. These activities are not “tours”; the activities have an educational purpose where you will learn, know and, most of all, become aware why it is so important to preserve marine turtles in Cozumel. We are certain that this will be a life experience and our turtles will be very grateful.  In order to have a proper control of those visiting each of the programs, the local government has implemented the sale of bracelets to identify every participant of an activity, and thus accomplish a clear process. For your bracelet, come to the Ecology Department the City Hall.

Three different programs comprise the marine turtle protection program:

The first activity is “Search and Rescue of Turtle Nests”. This activity takes place in nests that have hatched and emerged; it consists of uncovering the nest and extracting eggshells of turtles that have begun their path toward the sea, making a total count. Total eggshells determine the umber of hatchlings that have to the sea. There is a possibility of still finding some live hatchlings in the nest; at the end, these will be released. The importance of this activity is that you help hatchlings that remained in the nest reach the ocean and stop them from dying in the nest. The cost for this activity is a suggested donation of $25 North American dollars, children and adults. You must have your own transportation as Search and Rescue changes daily. We meet at San Martin beach and start at 3:30 p.m.

The second activity is the “Hatchlings Release” for a suggested donation of $25 North American dollars, children and adults. Here you will observe how the hatchlings emerge from the nest to the surface, running towards the ocean, avoiding predators and ready to start their life cycle. Trained volunteers will guide you through the preservation of turtles. The activity starts at 5:00 p.m. It is important to be there early to get the bracelets; and if we do not yet have them, take a preservation program briefing.

The third activity is “Night Nesting Program”; the cost: a suggested donation of $40 North American dollars, children and adults. This 2-hour activity starts at 10:30 p.m. Here you will observe and learn how marine turtles come out of the sea to fulfill their reproductive cycle placing their eggs in the area, in an unexplainable manner that nature has adapted for them. This activity takes place in full darkness, as this is necessary for adult turtles to come out of the sea.

Every activity includes a brief induction about the life of marine turtles and the protection program this committee has carries out, and the activity is performed with the support and company of experts on marine turtles. Our activities are mainly for educational purposes, hence the importance of acting in respect and adhering to the standards in place while the activity takes place.

The meeting site is San Martin beach on the eastern coast of the Island; therefore, one’s own transportation is required.

For the Cleaning and Rescue and Hatchling Releasing activities bring comfortable shows and clothes; consider that even we still have many hours of sun and a cap will become necessary. To the extent possible avoid using sun protection or bug repellents, or, if need be, use environmentally friendly or biodegradable. For the night monitoring activity we recommend long sleeves and avoid dark colored clothes, as there could be mosquitos during the activity. To the extent possible, avoid the use of repellent.

Given that this is an activity, consider the times; nature has the last word over out activities; it might start a few minutes earlier or later or, as well, could extend or shorten depending on the needs. Therefore we ask you to be tolerant with the times. If you are a Mexican national there is no need to pay for the access but it is important and necessary that you contact is to consider your space in our activity.

For detailed information about the Ecology Department’s programs visit their offices at Parque del Cenote on Avenue 65 between streets 13 and 31 south. You may also call bilingual Biologist Lemuel Vega at 987.872.5795.

Remember that turtle preservation is up to us all.

Biól. Lemuel Vega, who is a Cozumel native,  is the Coordinator for  M.I.A (Environmental Impact)  and the Technical Manager  for Camp Tortuguero San Martín.  Throughout the 2016 Turtle Season he’ll be updating us as to the progress and as to how you can volunteer and assist.


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