Locals Protect Endangered Turtle Eggs from Poachers on Oaxacan Beach
Stealing turtle eggs gets people shot, but the thievery continues in Oaxaca (National Geographic)
It’s the time of the year when thousands of marine turtles descend on a less-than-10-mile long strip of sand in the state of Oaxaca on Mexico’s Pacific coast to lay their eggs.
Once the eggs hatch – the baby reptiles can fit into the palm of a small child – they have to make their way to the sea. The female hatchlings won't return to this beach for another 25 to 30 years; the males never come back.
This process, which scientists believe has been happening for more than 100 million years, has been threatened for the last century as poachers hunt the eggs for food and adult turtles for their meat and skin.
To counter that, environmentalists and local families are taking to the beaches to guard a species which has been labeled as endangered by the World Wildlife Fund.
"I'm looking after them. So that [poachers] don't come and steal their eggs, kill them. So that dogs, black vultures don't kill them," resident Benito Cortes told Reuters.
The local efforts have been aided in recent years by the Mexican government, whose Commission of Aquaculture and Fishing has long been criticized by the United States and environmental groups for not doing enough to protect the reptiles.
Read the rest at Fox News Latino
Related: These Wired, Fake Turtle Eggs Could Track Down Poachers and Crack Illegal Trade (The Washington Post)
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