Hola Volunteers, Supporters and Friends
By the end of August we had recorded 514 nests. 297 were placed in the box nursery, 45 were found along (and relocated on) Playa Questo, Las Bancas and Los Chololo, 138 were placed in the beach nursery and 34 were taken illegally. As mentioned in our last newsletter, the beach nursery was overrun by the high tide during the new moon causing serious damage to at least the first 30 nests.
August volunteers included Andreas from San Pancho; Lindsay, Rosie and Oliver from New Zealand; Gale, and Lorren, Adrienne, Erin and Sophia, Ashley, Elizabeth, Terri, Jim and Linda, Jessica and Mark from the USA; and Rhiannon and Jamie from Scotland. (See images below.) We are looking for one or two volunteers to join us for September through mid-November.
Ever since 2002, perhaps the very beginning of the economic meltdown, the process of locating and enlisting new volunteers has been a difficult and disappointing task. Out of some 70 applications received this season only eight enlistees showed up in San Pancho. On September 1st, we reached a crisis point when only five volunteers were left on the job when we should have had at least fourteen throughout September.
The combination of not having enough volunteers and a huge increase in nests on the San Pancho beaches has forced us to discontinue the collection of nests on Playa Questo, Las Bancas and Los Chololo. Hopefully, this will be a temporary measure. The down side is that within the month of August alone, it is probable that the poachers will have taken as many as 90 nests from these three beaches. The up side is, as long as the poachers have these three beaches to pilfer at will, they are content to leave the local San Pancho beach (which contains 90% of all nests) to us.
In order to counter the increase in poaching on the three outer beaches in our absents, we are in the process of rounding up the names, nick-names and photos of eight to ten of the most active poaches. We also intend to give this information to, and enlist the help of the military, state, local and federal police as necessary. We hope to have these individuals under surveillance around the clock and arrested when found with marine turtle eggs.
Just a reminder, lights shining onto the beach will disrupt and disorient both hatchling and adult marine turtles. Hatchlings are drawn to the sea by a faint bio and chemical light cast by the waves. Any light that is stronger than that of the waves will draw them away from the sea and, in most cases, to their death. For adults, it is somewhat different. A female marine turtle becomes a chunk of lead once she leaves the sea. Her quest to find a safe nesting site is an exhausting task. When finished, she may mistake any light for the ocean causing her to travel needlessly up to a half a mile across the beach looking for the ocean. If on the beach please ask your renter to keep the back porch light off.
Weather-wise and otherwise, it’s been hot. At the end of August we found ourselves with approximately 24.5 inches of moisture mostly from heavy rains during impressive lightning storms. The river, for all intents and purposes, was dry until the last week of August. The lagoon opened to the sea for the third time on August 29th. 'Jimena', a category four hurricane with winds up to 145mph, was due to pass within 290 nautical miles southwest of us on September 1st., although we were not expecting high winds or waves as a result of her (see image below).
As for the town, there is nothing earth-shattering to report. The project to rebuild the main street is moving along but a little behind schedule. The new gas station project is still a vacant lot. New home starts are at an all time low and, because of the uncertain economy, the US media hyping swine flu and the drug wars in México, tourists here are as rare as hen's teeth. At sundown, on August 31st, there were less than 30 people on the beach in front of the malecon.
Frank D. Smith
Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde, A.C.
America Latina #102
San Francisco, Nayarit, México
...... Lindsay, Rosie, Linda and Jim - Oliver, Mark & Jessica .. ...Jamie and Rhiannon
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