Hola Volunteers, Friends, and Supporters ~
Of the 980 nests recorded by November, 640 were incubated in our box nursery, 200 were placed in selected locations on five other beaches, and 68 were taken illegally. Of the 72 placed in our enclosed beach nursery, the survival rate is: 74% hatchlings released, 1% killed by larvae, 12% dead, and 13% sterile.
By the end of the 2007 nesting season we had recorded 903 marine turtle nests, a record at the time, however, that record was shattered around mid-October of 2008. If our calculations are correct, we may end up with 1,040 to 1,090 nests this season.
Volunteer-wise, the following volunteers were with us for all or part of October: Johanne Pouliot, Bethany Jenkins, Kuba Gogolewski, Jessica Schmidt, Jim and Linda Sorter, Brenda Rubbick, Ryan Zapisocki, Les and Leora Rohssler, and Angelika and Davis Broach. By November only seven remain, Johanne, Brenda, Ryan, Angelica and Davis with the addition of Curt, Joslin and family.
So what is happening with the dollar/peso exchange rate? At first glance it would look as if the was dollar getting stronger, but that's not the whole story! Yes, the dollar is strengthening but Mexico is also experiencing a downturn in its economy. By mid-October, the exchange rate was $1.00=14.75 pesos, by the end of October the peso had rebounded to about 12.32.
Weather-wise, October turned out to be hotter than we expected while producing less than 4 inches of rain. The season total now stands at 42 inches or about 4 inches more than we received in either of the past two years.
A little history: when we began our work in 1991 there were less than seven residences along the beach including Costa Azul hotel which was closed at the time. The palm-laden beaches were basically free of artificial lighting and offered an idyllic location for some 200 nests, except for one serious problem: only 15% of these nests escaped poaching. The fate of the remaining nests did not end with poaching; nest larvae and an army of hungry dogs in search of food reduced the surviving population to the point where less than 10% of the hatchlings actually made it out to sea. Today, the problem of poaching and dogs on the beach has been reduced to less than 7%. So is it time to leave the nests on the beach as nature had intended? This concept has merit except for one very serious dilemma.
For millions of year, the only clue that guided hatchlings to the sea was a pale bluish-green light created by ocean waves. Unfortunately, today, any unshielded light will lure hatchlings away from the sea, in the direction of that light source. If these misguided hatchlings are not rescued they will die of heat by mid-day. If we did decide to leave a thousand nests on the beach, how many of the 87,500 hatchling would be lured by these residential lights away from the sea? Please, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how to keep these lights from shining onto the beach. If you need suggestion please call us at 258-4100.
Frank D. Smith
Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde, A.C
Mexico tel. (311) 258-4100
America Latina #102
San Francisco, Nayarit, Mexico
Back row: Angelika, Johanne and Zap Front row: Jessica, Brenda and Lisa