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left arrowPrevious Newsletter No. 41, February 22, 2003 .Nextright arrow

Hola Volunteers and Supporters

Well before the first humans arrived in North America, the marine turtle had well established its nesting grounds along the palm-laden beaches of San Francisco. For centuries, countless waves of nesting turtles climbed the summer beaches to perpetuate their species, while Indians gathered food from their inexhaustible supply of eggs and turtles. Despite the coexistence of hunter and hunted, the population of marine turtles remained stable. By the mid 1800’s, those who had no qualms about taking more from the marine turtles than was reasonable were slowly replacing Native Americans.

In the mid 1900’s, countless numbers of nesting turtles had been slaughtered along the beaches of Nayarit solely for their flippers, used in making fine boots. Only when their numbers were exhausted did the carnage end. At sea they fared no better, commercial fishing trapped tens of thousands destined for the markets and canneries. By 1988, poaching along the San Francisco beaches were responsible for taking up to 95% of all nests, and killing untold numbers of adults each year. Today the story is much happier and the figures are reversed; the poachers take less than 6% of the nests, and when lucky, they may kill one a year.

Work on next seasons program is on its way. Since the temporary nursery built in my yard after Kenna was a total success, we are planning to try it again, but it will be only two-third the size of last year's, holding 144 nests, down from 216. We are building seven upright sections that will support the roof and shelves. The ideal is to build a nursery that can be quickly assembled and disassembled. Our decision to continue using a nursery was based in part on the uncertainty of beach conditions next season, including lights, horses, etc. We should be able to place three nests in the temporary nursery each night; which adds up to 456 nests within a five-month season. All nests found beyond three would be relocated to better areas along the beach.

Work has also begun on our dune buggy, its having twenty feet of its railing replaced with galvanized pipe, all fenders replaced with heavier steel, the clutch replaced, and the motor mounts reinforced. The final touch will be a paint job to spruce her up.

Elvia is holding environmental classes Monday through Friday. The classes are designed for children of our community ages 6 to 16. The classes will host guest speakers from the field of conservation. Elvia is also conducting a bi-weekly cleanup campaign along our beach, streets, river, and wherever needed.

Frank D. Smith
Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde, A.C.

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