There has been a sea turtle conservation foundation started here recently in Mahahual. The effort is being run by Kayla Noble, a native of Canada. Kayla is the granddaughter of one of Mahahual’s long time residents, Marilyn Marshall.
It surely is an important reason to protect the turtle species. Not only has this species been on our planet since the time of the dinosaurs, but they play an important role in our oceans as a keystone species that maintains the coral reefs and sea grass beds supporting the important fisheries and general health of the ocean.
Kayla Noble and her foundation is raising money to support conservation projects along the undisturbed coastline of Quintana Roo Mexico. The initiatives being addressed by this fundraiser is to complete beach surveys along 160km of beach from Lagoon Mosquitero to Rio Huach and possibly Xcalak. These surveys will allow us to identify turtle nesting beaches allowing hatcheries to be introduced in future years, the goal is for implementation next year.
This will not only help conserve the endangered sea turtle species of the region, but lends the opportunity to educate the community and enhance their ecotourism.
The importance of sea turtles is often easy to forget.
Some key points:
-Turtles are a keystone species to ocean ecosystems, maintaining fragile coral reefs and healthy seagrass beds. Their presence helps balance marine food webs and assists in butrient cycling.
– 5 of the 7 marine turtle species are either endangered or critically endangered (Loggerhead, Green, Kemps Ridley, Leatherbacks and flatbacks).
– It is believed that 4 of these species have been found along the coast being monitored.
-Many female turtles only nest every 2-4 years, laying a few nests per season, the average survival of hatchlings is 1 in 1000.
-Threats are still posed once reaching maturity, with long line fishing in the area, in front of nesting beaches, many turtles become collateral damage and discarded when caught in nets.
– Many nests are scavenged for eating, as some locals will eat turtle eggs, as well as the turtle itself, or feed them to their dogs.
Though it may sound like a lost cause, there are many residents interested in conserving these magnificent creatures. By getting the community together to assist with surveying, bringing the topic to the surface and reminding the community of the intrinsic value of these species, there is great hope that with your help we can have a detrimental impact.
MSc Geomatics Candidate, BSc Environmental Management
Kayla and her group are here on behalf of Littlefeet Environmental, surveying beaches to support the future implementation of hatcheries along the coast of Mahahual from Sian Ka’an to Xcalak. Collection of the data will allow the documents to be made to ensure proper permissions to have hatcheries and then to implement them correctly and follow best practices when interacting with these majestic species.
There are a few web pages associated with this leg of the project..
Here are some various photos, from a couple different beaches being monitored, and a nesting turtle we came across during a night survey early June.
Thanks for reading,
Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina