The day we released the one millionth hatchling was no different than any other. The hatchling had actually been released before we realized it. It was not until I sat down at the computer and figured out exactly which box it came from and which hatchling it was, that we knew for sure but, no cigar, just another day.
However, others were not going to let this event slide by unnoticed, and planned a celebration on the malecon feathering music, a slideshow, speakers, raffle, releasing of hatchlings, games for the kids, awards given to volunteers and the unveiling of a plaque (see images below). It was a wonderful event that I will always remember. I would like to thank Elvia and Geno, Rocio, Nicole and an army of EntreAmigos helpers, Rodolfo, Joe and Manny, Diego, Aldo, Hilloah and many others for putting this event together.
The plaque may be in my name but it represents hundreds of volunteers and others that have dedicated their time to protect thousands of adult marine turtles and over a million of their hatchlings. I sincerely thank everyone for your outstanding work.
Of the 959 nests that were recorded this season, a total of 66,120 hatchlings were released to date. By early January, there were only 4 nests left to hatch in the box nursery and 14 nests in the beach nursery. The number of nests collected after mid-November has dropped by 50%, while collection of nests throughout the entire season had dropped by 24% as compared to last year’s 1,259 nests. The poachers slithered off with less than .027%. Nests placed in the beach nursery came to 151 while nests placed in the box nursery came to 779.
Volunteer wise: Lorren and Gale returned home in mid-December, Kim and Neil returned on the 25th, leaving behind Beth, Julio, Hemmie and Lisa and as the only volunteers. On the other hand the enlistment of new and former volunteers for the coming season has begun. Along with the need of new volunteers, we also need former volunteers that can train and supervise new volunteers, lift nest boxes, drive the dune buggy, etc.
As mentioned in the last newsletter, we planned to use rope and stakes to keep onlookers out of the hatchling release area. In early December we put this plan into action and as we had hoped it worked extremely well, taking less than ten minuets to set up and keeping all but dogs out.
Weather wise: in mid-December, we received an unseasonal 6.1 inches of rain (my rain gauge) in a little less than two days. This amount of moisture should keep the jungle lush and green up until the rains in June. Daytime temperatures were generally between the low to high 80°s, nighttime temp had dropped into the mid to high 60°s. Except for the abnormal rain from out of the Pacific, there were no other unusual weather events. Total rainfall for the month was 3.62 inches, for the year: 49.84 inches.
At last it appears that the dune buggy for the first time wants to help us, something it has not been able to do over the past fifteen years. By mid-season it had a change of heart and breakdowns were at a minimum and simple to repair. Although we did replace the entire clutch-brake-gas peddle assembly and overhaul the front brakes as a matter of preventive maintenance.
Over a period of twenty days the entire Costa Azul Hotel (below the road) will be leveled and hauled off, one dump truck at a time, and I can’t believe my eyes, the OXXO market and the gas station are finally open after nearly four years of sitting idle. (See images below)