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Sea turtles could soon be faced with extinction
In the spring of 1992 the founding members of the Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde, A.C. (the Group) organized and built the first marine nursery in San Francisco, Nayarit. By June of that year protection of Olive Ridley and Leatherback turtle eggs had begun.

Millions of years before humans arrived in North America, the marine turtle had well established its nesting habitat along the coastal waters of Mexico. The oldest inhabitants of San Francisco, Nayarit, or "San Pancho" as it is commonly called today, can still recall the nights when hundreds of nesting turtles climbed the moonlit beaches to renew the custom of perpetuating their species.

The palm-laden playas were free of development and offered an idyllic location for nesting. Occasionally, the coastal Indians would gather food from the generous supply of eggs and turtles.

The growing human population, coupled with the changing demographics of the coastal region in the past one hundred years, has dramatically altered the habitat, and thus, the reproductive cycle of the turtles.  By 1988, pressures from coastal development, poaching, shrimp fishing, and tourism reduced a population of tens of thousands to less than 200 nesting turtles per year.

Sunset

Sunset at San Pancho

Leatherback

Leatherback laying eggs

The first conservation effort to protect the marine turtle began in the late eighties. It was then that members of the community became concerned that the local marine turtle population may soon face extinction.

In the spring of 1992, the founding members of the Group built the first marine nursery. By June, a large scale protection of Olive Ridley and Leatherback turtle eggs had begun. In 20 years the population has increased from 200 to 1,170 nests.


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