Fewer nests but higher hatching rate
The majority of turtles come to nest on our shores during the month of September, which makes October a pivotal month for their nesting and incubation period (about 45 days), and for the liberation of the baby sea turtles. Unfortunately, this year we witnessed a decrease of approximately 50% in the number of turtles that came to our shores to nest. According to Alejandro Peña, this season’s unusual precipitation patterns of sparse rainfall have made the overall climate dry and unfavorable for the turtles to nest. The decreased numbers may also be linked to the effects of Hurricane Patricia, which made landfall on our coast last October. Additionally, despite all of our efforts, we still have too many nests destroyed by animal predators. We have already added two new ATV patrol vehicles and we need to continue to increase our equipment and personnel in order to reduce these losses.
Nevertheless, we have had an excellent hatching rate so far this season: over 90% of the eggs collected in July and August have hatched, compared to the typical average of about 70%. There has also been an increase in younger mothers coming to nest at Playa Teopa, which suggests that the turtles are reproducing at a healthier age range and also indicates the success of our protection and conservation efforts.