Attention turtle lovers: it’s a good time of year for sea turtles in Cabo! Every fall, tourists and locals alike join in the release of the animals as they hatch and make their way to the sea. The turtle releasing event is often a highlight for kids who are visiting the popular tourist destination.
From watching them hatch to making sure the baby sea turtles are able to start their new lives in the sea, the turtle release custom has always been a fun and educational experience for all who wish to take part. Hatchlings are often given names and cheered on as they make their short journey from the beach to the sea. Adults, too, are given the chance to learn about the endangered species and their annual migration as they take part in the exciting tradition.
For millions of years, sea turtles have migrated the world’s oceans and come to lay their eggs on the Los Cabos beaches. After 45 to 60 days in an incubation period, the eggs begin to hatch. The moment they do, the baby sea turtles instinctively head toward the sea; But although the journey from the beach to the sea is a short one, it is rarely an easy move.
In concurrence with the fact that all marine turtle species are either endangered or in danger of extinction, it is often the case that very few of the sea turtles actually make it to their new home. While tens of thousands of hatchling turtles emerge from their nests, only an estimated one in 1,000 to 10,000 are expected to survive to adulthood.
In their journey, they must avoid birds, crabs, big fish, coyotes and foxes, as well as natural threats, such as the tides, rain, and of course, man himself. For many years, the locals of Baja California have depended on eating the so-called “caguama”, and many continue to do so. Others have illegally poached the creatures for their oil, skin and shell to produce jewelry and other luxury items.
Fortunately, many non-profit organizations and wildlife associations have made great efforts to protect the endangered animals as they take on their march to the sea. Festivals are held throughout the coast to raise awareness and educate people about the fragility of the animal’s migration, while the Mexican government has focused their efforts on the reporting of those who attempt to kill the sea turtles or steal their eggs.
One American researcher by the name of Wallace J. Nichols founded Grupo Torugeo de Las Californias (Sea Turtle Conservation Network), which has since become one of the largest overall sea turtle protection and conservation efforts.
Whether you are visiting the beaches of Cabo San Lucas or concerned about the future of marine sea turtles, there are many ways that you can get involved in the protection of these beautiful animals. One of the best ways is to report all sightings of both adults and hatchlings on the beach.
Educating yourself and others, in turn, will help raise awareness of the need to protect the endangered species. There is always the opportunity to find out how to get involved in a turtle release, and it is a hope that this wonderful tradition in protecting the animals as they begin their new lives will continue into the future.