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Newsletter No. 55 - November, 2004
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Hola Volunteers, Supporters and Friends

By the end of October, a total of 325 nests had been documented, 280 of which were placed in the nursery to incubate. Of those 280, over 190 nests hatched by the end of October, generating a higher than normal survival rate of 92%. The poachers took twenty-eight nests, seven were left on the beach, five unknown, and one turtle was killed. If all goes well, and if we find at least twenty more nests, we should end up releasing around 25,900 hatchlings this season.

Generally, by mid-September, the peak nesting season, free space within the nursery is limited. Eventually, when we do run out of room, our only alternative is to relocate or leave the nests on the beach, as we have done occasionally over the past years. This June, we enlarged the capacity of the nursery by purchasing enough nest boxes to fill the free space on the floor. By mid-October, the nursery began to empty and we were able to place every single nest for the first time in seven years.

By November 7th, only four volunteers out of fourteen will remain with the program, Andres-Mexico, Bronny-Australia, Paul-France and Riikka-Finland. Basically, the 2004 nesting season has come to an end, although there are still about ninety nests incubating in the nursery, which should finish hatching by the end of December. The last 25% of those nests may not receive enough heat to incubate properly. To elevate their nest temperature and to keep within the spirit of the season, we will experiment with Christmas lights. Our plan is to use a string of twenty, 7.5-watt clear light bulbs, placing one bulb between each nest box. Any nest deposited on the beach during the months of December and January will in most cases fail to incubate due to cold sand.

The volunteers, through the leadership of Paul Tsaros, have taken on the task of providing environmental activities for the children in the local secondary and primary schools. Their plan is to spend a day with each of the nine grades, explaining the mission of our marine turtle, environmental and cleanup programs, and answering questions, ending with games on the beach that explain the life cycle of the sea turtle. They expect to have a total of 250 school children attending these activities.

At sunset on October 26, a small Olive Ridley turtle appearing to be about a year old was washed ashore. It was alive and seemed to be in fair health despite the fact that both right flippers had been cut off through a struggle to free itself of fishing line. It's wounds, including some scars on its shell, seemed to be about two to six weeks old. With two flippers missing on the same side, it is unlikely it would survive if placed back in the sea, but before we were able to come up with a plan for it's future, it died.

Each year at this time, we begin the task of putting together the "San Francisco 2005 Homeowners Directory". If you are a resident of San Pancho, and would like to add or correct information in this directory, please contact me by telephone: (311) 258-4100 or by e-mail

October gave us a month of pleasant weather, clear skies and cooler than normal temperatures. On the other hand, the past forty days have produced a scant 2.43 inches of rainfall, well below normal. Total rainfall since June 1 adds up to 27.58 inches. Last month's average daytime temperature rose to the mid to low 90's, average nighttime low dropped to the mid to high 70's.

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


September Volunteers 2004

Top left: Gavin-Canada and Eveline -Switzerland
Top Center: Jeff and Amanda - Oregon, USA
Top right: Paul-France and Bronny-Australia
Bottom center: Andres-Mexico and Riikka-Finland


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