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Hola Volunteers, Supporters and Friends ~

Elvia, a close friend and Grupo Ecológico member since near the beginning, has given birth to Ananda Georgina Lamphiear Garcia.  She was born on Tuesday, the 27th, at 5 am in Puerto Vallarta, at 7 lbs - 1 ounce.  In Geno’s words “she beautiful”  Congratulation Elvia and Geno. (See photo below)

The last hatchlings were released on the February 25th twenty-five days overdue, but very healthy. Total hatchlings released came to 64,799 from 94,138 eggs collected. Total recorded nests came to 956,  while overall survival rate was 69%.  Box nursery 87% and beach 31%.  Believe-it-or-not the last 39 nests on the beach came to 77.7%. The poachers ran off with 4%.
It would be very helpful if months before the season begins, we could predict the number of nests that we would collect.  Last season we recorded 956, next season we could be 1,200 or as few as 800.  Although not to be caught off guard again, we are increasing the capacity of the box nursery from 240 to 330 nests or 38%.  If the number of nests remain at 956, the enlargement will allow us to incubate an additional 109 nests while reducing the number placed on the beach by the same amount.  If bad weather conditions destroy the beach nursery as it has over the past three years, we could save as many as 7,600 additional hatchlings.

Weather-wise,  it’s gone to “hell”. On February 9th at 9:30 am, under a clap of thunder the sky opened with a barrage of medium size hail.  When talking to the locals, none could remember ice balls falling out of the heavens, at least in San Pancho.  February has always been a strange weather month,  three times over the past fifteen years the plastic roof of the box nursery has been ripped off by strong wind and heavy rain, something that summer thunder could never do.  In any case from the evening of the 10th through to the 18th we received 4 inches of welcomed rain.   Daytime temperatures ranged from the low 70°to the low 80°, nighttime temps around 60°, with few totally sunny days.

Town-wise.  It was a little spooky at the last sunset release, there was only three people on the beach, the street in front of my house is empty, especially of water trucks that five years ago were as thick as flies.  The construction work at and around Plaza de Sol is moving along at a lightning pace.  It appears that the plaza is getting a full face lift, everything that President Echeverria built in the 60s is being removed except for the posts of the main structure.  The construction also includes underground power lines, surface with the same cobblestone as Calle Africa, all new water lines, and sidewalks.  There has been no work on our gas station in the past month.  The pesos is 12.25 to 12.65 per dollar, regular gasoline is 3.04 to 3.12 per gallon.

You would think with three months of good rain over the summer, and moisture that for the most part remained on land, the river would keep flowing until mid-May.  Not so, the water beneath the bridge stopped flowing around mid-February,  a month earlier than expected.  Perhaps this is result of upstream pumping by other groups aside from the town pump.  These groups are betting the farm on sustainable water, but it is foolish to assume that we’ll always have favorable rains, and if not, what then? 

The enlistment of volunteers is moving along well, to date we’ve selected fifteen former staff and seven new volunteers.  Most help come from the USA, although several come from the UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland and Germany.

In the last newsletter I forgot to mention that we have about five small (5.5 by 8 inch) directories for sale.  We would also like to ask those interested in purchasing a copy to drop by my house, or to please call me for a special delivery.  Fundraising over the past four years has become very difficult; we need your help to continue our work of saving thousands of hatchlings.

The day after a hike through the jungle I broke out with numerous painful red bumps.  I can count the times this has happened, in some cases I was just out  looking at the jungle.  The culprit is a very small insect called “guina” by the locals, chiggers in English.  Chiggers don't bite you in the traditional sense as a mosquito does. Instead, they attach themselves to your skin, inject saliva of digestive enzymes that helps to break down your skin cells, which the chigger drinks. It is these enzymes that cause the painful itchy and rash one to three days later.  Chiggers can stay attached to your skin for several days and continue eating.  They are easily brushed off and are usually knocked off once you begin to scratch the rash or take a shower or bath. That is why it is a good idea to take a quick shower, wash the legs and torso carefully after a jungle hike, and throw your clothes in the washer.

Frank D. Smith
Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde, A.C.
Tel. 311-258-4100


Ananda Georgina Lamphiear Garcia and mother Elvia                                       

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