Releasing the Baby Turtles
By Javier Machain
I had been hearing from friends about their experiences freeing the turtles for a long time. Some had participated in turtle camps or released the turtles through another ecological organization that provided the opportunity for others to collaborate in this noble cause.
Recently I was able to experience it for myself on the beach of hotel Velas Vallarta, where every year guests, employees and the public are offered the chance to free the newborn baby turtles hatched from eggs laid on the hotel beach.
Between the months of June and December hundreds of marine turtles arrive on the beaches of the Bay of Banderas to lay their eggs, offering a magnificent natural spectacle throughout the region. It is something that many residents and tourists can enjoy in Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Nayarit during the second half of the year.
Marine turtles can be found in regions around the world, in both cold and tropical waters. Fortunately for us, the coastal area of the Pacific Ocean is the perfect place for them to lay their eggs. The nest the turtles make is also known as a clutch, where they deposit from 50 to 200 eggs at a time. An adult turtle can lay eggs up to three times during a reproduction period. Once the mother has completed her labor, she goes back to the sea, never to return. From this moment on the baby turtles must fend for themselves.
If you have ever wondered how it is that newborn turtles know which direction to walk to the sea, the reason is that they are phototactic. This means that they respond to light stimuli, guiding themselves directly by the light of the sun or moon and its reflection on the water.
At birth the babies have a pouch of food in their stomach that can last for two days, which is why it is urgent that they get to the sea and feed themselves immediately.
There are currently eight species of marine turtles, and the gulf turtle is the one that regularly comes to this area to lay her eggs. There are an estimated one million active female gulf turtles in the world.
Unfortunately, all marine turtle species are in danger of extinction. In addition to natural obstacles, humans have contributed in a negative way to the acceleration of this process, just by consuming their eggs and meat, and using them simple for decoration. Of every thousand turtles that hatch, only one reaches adulthood. This is why it is important to support and maintain turtle release programs. Only in this way can we avoid the disappearance of this species, and at the same time encourage society’s consciousness of the care and preservation of marine turtles.
At resorts Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, Velas Vallarta and Casa Velas you and your family can be part of this great experience. A turtle release schedule is not possible, as baby turtles hatch spontaneously, so those interested can
stay updated on our social networks twitter: @velasvallarta and facebook: www.facebook.com/velasvallarta to find out more turtle release and all related subjects.