It’s one of the most popular tourist seasons in Los Cabos, and local officials are gearing up for another exciting season. This time we are not discussing Spring Break. Instead, the high nesting season for the Olive Ridley sea turtles is right around the corner.
In preparation for the season, Sea Turtle Protection Program Coordinator Gabriel Olvera has started to have his staff monitoring the areas where sea turtles normally nest and giving training classes to volunteers.
The Preparation For Nesting
Local officials are already planning for the Olive Ridley sea turtle nesting season by undertaking a number of important preparation activities.
Right now, they are busy monitoring the beaches sea turtles choose for their nesting sites for the cleanliness of the beaches along with the sand and water temperatures.
Temperature monitoring is a critical part of the process, as specific sand temperatures are needed to incubate the eggs. Below 28 degrees centigrade will yield males, while sand temperatures between 31 and 32 degrees will yield females.
The incubation period is typically between 45 and 50 days under ideal conditions.
The Sea Turtle Protection Program is actively recruiting volunteers to help with the nesting in Los Cabos by completing the required Sea Turtle Management and Conservation Workshop related to the necessary fieldwork.
Last year, more than 8,000 protected Olive Ridley sea turtle nests were observed, tracked, and monitored in the Los Cabos area. Each nest typically contains an average of 100 eggs.
The Gentle Creatures of the Sea
Found around the world, Olive Ridley sea turtles, also known as the Pacific Ridley sea turtles, are considered threatened animals around the world. The only exception is off the coast of Los Cabos, where the population is even more at risk and considered an endangered species.
Estimates are the worldwide population of Olive Ridley sea turtles has rapidly declined due to the desire for turtle meat and eggs. Before this mass hunting, it was estimated there were 10 million sea turtles in Mexico.
Meanwhile, the population of nesting females around the world dropped to an estimated two million in 2004. By 2008, the effects of global warming have that number down to about 850,000.
However, the current nesting animal levels are considered stable in Mexico thanks to the hard work of volunteers and government officials.
The Olive Ridley sea turtles only nest in two locations in the Pacific Ocean – Costa Rica and Mexico.
They are amazing animals that can be as big as two to two-and-a-half feet in size as adults and weigh up to 100 pounds. The exact lifespan of Olive Ridley sea turtles is not known, but it projected to be approximately 30 to 50 years.
How Tourists Can Help
Along with tourists volunteering to help monitor the beaches, track data, and even assist with the Olive Ridley sea turtle nesting season, tourists can pitch in to make sure the process goes as easily as possible and is safe for the turtles.
According to Olivera, tourists should avoid bringing vehicles onto beaches because it can damage the turtle’s nests. Also, keeping dogs on leashes can help because they can easily scare the Olive Ridley sea turtles during the nesting process.
Another thing Los Cabos visitors can do is work to keep the local beaches as clean as possible. Trash discarded on beaches can travel to the Olive Ridley sea turtle nesting beaches during rain and wind storms. According to Olivera, it all ends up in the turtle nesting straw.
Tourists are welcome to go through the Sea Turtle Management and Conservation Workshop training process to learn more about the animals and observe their nesting behavior. The education process can also help protect the future of the species.
The Olive Ridley sea turtle season in Los Cabos officially starts in June and will wrap up when the weather turns colder in December.
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