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Sea turtle conservation programs in Costa Maya providing results with significant reduction in looting

Costa Maya, Q.R. — The sea turtle conservation programs in Xcacel-Xcacelito have reported a decrease in egg looting says reserve manager, Alejandro Arenas Martínez. He noted that this year, only 1 percent of the eggs have been stolen for the purpose of marketing.

“We had a beach in Tulum which is where the highest number of looting of eggs and slaughtered females occurred, but that was because there was no protection or monitoring. Now through Conanp and other associations, conservation work is carried out for more than four kilometers which has helped a lot to reduce the impact,” he explained.

He said before, half of the recorded sea turtle nests were found along that particular beach area of Tulum, and that each season, 50 percent of those eggs were looted. Now with monitoring programs, those figures have significantly decreased.

As of now, there are around 3,000 nests in the area of which only 30 have been discovered with missing eggs. Arenas Martinez said that in previous years with that many nests, they would have found 300 or 400 nests with looted eggs.

He commented that about five years ago, one sea turtle egg would fetch around 100 peso, which generated an income for poachers since one nest can contain as many as 120 eggs.

Arenas Martínez said that they are counting on conservation programs to continue rising awareness about the efforts to repopulate the sea turtles as well as discourage people from consuming the eggs or the turtles themselves for meat.