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Newsletter No. 58 - February-March, 2005
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Hola Volunteers, Supporters and Friends

Been waiting for this for a long time: the last hatchling of the 2004-nesting season was released at sundown on March 7th. It has been over six and a half months since the first hatchling was released on August 18. The 2004 seasons records are as follows:

* The number released from 306 nests placed in our nursery ended up at 25,745 hatchlings.
*
Total number produced from 18 nests left on the beach was estimated at about 1,042 hatchlings.
*
Poachers took a total of 29 nests, a little more than last year.
*
Two nests were washed out by heavy surf.
*
And one turtle was killed. The poacher, Polo, will spend five years in prison for that deed.

The overall survival rate finished at an all time high of 90.14%, as compared to a 12-year average of 71% (1992 to 2003). By preheating sand placed in the nest boxes and using lights to warm the nests, we have been able for the first time to successfully hatch all nests collected from November 15th on, about 30, at near summer survivable rates of 85%, as compared to the last 5-year average of 63%.

After several months in Puerto Vallarta for major repairs and replacement of the buggies motor mounts, transaxle braces, and the replacement of both front and rear suspension systems, the buggy was finally returned in early March. Hopefully, these repairs will limit breakdowns throughout this coming season. To complete the job, the entire wiring system will be replaced with corrosion-proof wire and terminals. It also will receive new lights and a paint job.

Shortly after the municipality began trash collection in San Pancho, our Group placed about 60 trash containers throughout the community. We hoped at the time that people would use the containers and lessen the amount of litter discarded into the streets. From the first day the project was overwhelmed with problems. The 55-gallon containers were too heavy for the trash crew to lift to the top of the trash truck, and within a year, the bottoms of the metal containers rusted out. Plus many containers ended up being used within construction sites or moved in front of private homes, and the project was discontinued in less than three years.

In February, "Calandria Realty" and "Grupo Eco" decided once again to begin placing about 40 trash containers throughout the community. Hopefully by utilizing 55-gallon plastic barrels cut in half with holes drilled in the bottoms, we will discourage cattlemen and construction workers from taking them.

Betty McIntyre and Judith Anderson are planning the next spay/neuter clinic for San Pancho on the 16th and 17th of April. It is costly to bring a team of veterinarians and vet technicians down from Idaho, but they have had such wonderful response in getting animals neutered, it's been worth the expense. In order to do the April clinic, they need to raise $3,000USD and are now soliciting donations from friends and neighbors to carry out this endeavor. If you are able to contribute any amount please contact Judith Anderson sanpanchojudith@hotmail.com or Betty McIntyre at sanpanchobetty@comcast.net

Weather wise, this winter has produced warmer than normal temperatures, although the late days of February cooled a little. We received 1.3 inches of rain over the past two months, but this amount is not enough to relieve the stress the jungle is beginning to show from lack of rainfall. The local river dried up on February 15th.

In the State of Nayarit, environmental organizations are few and far between. To have two of us within the same block and in the same pueblo of San Pancho is unusual and noteworthy. Hojanay (Hombre-Jaguar-Nayarit) is a nonprofit organization whose roots go back to 1999. Their mission is the preservation of the jaguar (panthera onca) and the protection of their habitat within the jungle of the Sierra de Vallejo Mountains. Hojanay has help too creat a 63,562-hector biosphere reserve, a natural protected area within the Sierra de Vallejo Mountains. This area ranges from La Cruz de Huanacaxtle to Alta Vista and from highway 200 to the Banderas Valley.

Hojanay supports scientific research and social projects in order to involve the local rural communities in conservation (18 ejidos and one indigenous community). They are also working to create the first sanctuary for the jaguar in Nayarit in Ursulo Galvan (1,900 hectors of sanctuary). The jaguar is a protected endangered species; an umbrella species and an environmental health indicator. According to Erik Saracho, the director of Hojanay, if we have the jaguar, we still have a healthy ecosystem. In ancient Mexico, the jaguar was a symbol of divinity, power, and beauty. The jaguar is the keeper of the jungle, and the jungle keeps the water. 2005 is the year of the jaguar in Mexico (work realized by Hojanay.) Hojanay@prodigy.net.mx

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


Indina Rock Art

Indian Rock Art near Alta Vista, Nayarit


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