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Previousleft arrow ................................ ......Newsletter No. 151 August, 2014 Nextright arrow


Hola Volunteers, Supporters and Readers ~

The most serious problems facing our marine turtle program today is the urgent need for funds and the lack of volunteers.  For the first time in a decade we find ourselves critically short of both.  Until we are financially back on our feet, we need funding now to protect the nests we have already collected and to continue our work as we have done over the past twenty-three years.  As always, we have been extremely prudent in our spending, purchasing only those supplies and services that are absolutely necessary.

We’ve tried to raise funds via the sale of Group t-shirts and Homeowners Directories but the effects of the recession has knocked us off our feet financially. However, there is a way you can help us immediately with a donation via PayPal just by following this link: http://project-tortuga.org/contribute.html

Rest assured, your donation will be most helpful and deeply appreciated!

By the end of August over 639 nests have been recorded.  Of that number, 473 were placed in the box nursery, 129 were placed in the beach nursery, another 21 miscellaneous nests were recorded, while the poachers oozed off with 16.

The 639 nests recorded by the end of August represent a 13.5% increase over the peak season of 2012.  This increase may raise the season total from 1,440 up to 1,634, not the anticipated 2,200 we had first feared.

During the last week of August, while successfully avoiding searing hot temperatures and cold rain, we were able to once again repair the beach nursery.  The rush was necessary to receive the first overflow nests that the box nursery would not be able to accommodate.  By late September, we may once again be able to place all nests in the box nursery up until mid-November when this nursery becomes too cold to incubate nests and then it’s back to the beach.
At sunset, on August 8th, two of our volunteers, Jessica Schmidt and Mark Hiller were wed on our local beach accompanied by family and friends, (See image below) Jessica first joined us in 2007 and Mark in 2009. Their marriage was the first for the Group volunteers but hopefully not the last.

August volunteers: Joslin, Starlie, and Summer Bertrand, Paige Thomsen, Jessica and Mark Hiller all from the US, Matej Madacky from Canada, Manuel Murrieta and Julio Martinez Gonzalez from San Pancho. Also see Selected for the latest lineup on our volunteers.

Weather-wise: Daytime temperatures were mostly in the high 80°s to low 90°s, while night time temps were in the low to mid 70°s, unusually cold nights at times.  No notable weather events; light wind, some high surf from hurricane Marie, cloudy days.  By the end of August we had received about 6.6 inches of rain for a season a total of 23.9 inches.  Out at sea there were five non-threatening hurricanes: Iselle cat-4, Julio cat-3, Karina cat-1, Lowell cat-1 and Marie cat-5

Over the past two years a new nesting behavior has become increasingly common.  Between 11pm and 1am, we can receive around 86% of our nesting turtles, and generally within the same area. This behavior does not happen every night but when it does it can become very hectic and a good opportunity for poachers to take advantage of the shortage of volunteers on hand. If you'd like to volunteer or know anyone who does, please contact me asap. You can make a difference!

Town and Country-wise: I am not going to comment on the gas station, improving our town intersection or the sewer plant until there is some change or work in progress, etc., to report. On the other hand, work on the Polo Club Facility is proceeding nicely as planned. (See images below),
Around the 11th, heavy rain in the mountains opened the mouth of the lagoon to the sea.  It may remain open for several months while the outlet is again slowly snaking it’s way in the direction of La Perla beach restaurant.

There is not always possible for dogs and turtles to share the same environment.  In time the dogs will start to attack turtles, eat hatchlings and dig up their nests.  At sunrise on August 2nd, a turtle coming ashore to nest was viciously attacked and killed by several dogs.  It seems strange that this attack could happen on a weekend so close to the front of town without anyone coming to its rescue.  Since it happened on a weekend, perhaps the dogs' owners were tourists camping nearby.  We hope so, since the attack showed signs of some particularly vicious dogs. We performed a postmortem on the turtle to remove her eggs and place them in a nest box.

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


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Front row: Antu, Patty, Summer and Jessica           Mark and Jessica's sunset wedding on the beach.
Back row: Manuel, Starlie, Joslin and Mark.

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Dave Fisher's helicopter view of the new Polo Facility under construction.

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