Friday, June 14, 2024

Got 1 min? Over 62,000 sea turtle nests recorded in Quintana Roo this season

The 2023 turtle nesting season saw over 62,000 nests on the beaches of Quintana Roo according to Itzel Trujano, of the Quintana Roo Sea Turtle Committee.

How do the numbers compare to last year?

According to the data collected by researchers, this year’s results were stable compared to last year, when Quintana Roo registered over 3,000 loggerhead nests, 37,000 green turtle nests, 1,500 hawksbill nests and three rare leatherback nests. In total, 2022 recorded over 2 million sea turtle hatchlings released on more than 45 beaches in Quintana Roo.

leatherback turtles at Xcacel-Xcacelito turtle sanctuary in Tulum, Mexico
Four leatherback sea turtle nests were reported in Quintana Roo in 2023, an increase of one nest. (Wikimedia Commons)

Which species lay eggs in Quintana Roo?

Biologist Itandé Ruiz Ramos and engineer Roberto Herrera reported that this season registered 1,518 clutches of hawksbill eggs, more than 58,000 of green white turtle eggs and more than 3,000 of loggerhead eggs.

Following this year’s nesting season, which takes place annually between May 1 and June 16, an extraordinary event occurred at the Xcacel-Xcacelito turtle sanctuary. The leatherback sea turtle, the largest sea turtle species in the world, was spotted in the sanctuary for the first time in 36 years – and gave birth to 57 leatherback turtle babies.

The leatherback sea turtle, once a prevalent species in almost all oceans except the Arctic and Antarctic, has sharply declined in many parts of the world. Due to its dwindling numbers, it is now listed under the Endangered Species Act. In Mexico, leatherbacks have been observed in both the Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico.

How are sea turtles doing in other areas of Mexico? 

Mexico is one of the most important turtle nesting sites in the world: six of the world’s seven species of sea turtles nest on Mexico’s beaches. This year, two additional turtle sanctuaries were federally declared at the beaches of La Escobilla and Chacahua in Oaxaca, bringing the total number of turtle sanctuaries in Mexico to 17 in eight coastal states.

Sea turtle conservation in Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, saw a promising season this year, registering double the number of eggs recorded in 2022. Baja California’s coasts are home to five species of endangered sea turtles whose populations declined significantly towards the end of the last century. Signs of habitat recovery are expected to continue thanks to the efforts of monitoring, education and conservation programs across Mexico. 

With reports from La Jornada Maya

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