Sea Turtle Nesting Season 2022/2023
This is what is hear from me at 5:15 am. It's dark, the howler monkeys have been yelling at you to get out of bed for an hour and you're trying your best to imagine getting up when all you really want to do is sleep but the jungle is determined to kick you out of bed. Thank goodness for great coffee...
It's hard to complain when you know you're about to experience the purely sweet and magical experience of releasing baby Sea Turtles for their race to the ocean to live a long and beautiful but challenging life. Thanks to the tireless, committed, and sleep deprived lives of the team at FUNDAT (Fundación de Agua y Tierra- Foundation of Water and Earth)), we are able to witness these magical moments of trying to support these incredible animals who are doing their best to tell extinction to suck it.
The dedicated team of Environmental Educators and a Marine Biologist at FUNDAT recently ended this years Sea Turtle season on March 15. The Sea Turtle Nesting season began June 1st, 2022 when the team spent every night patrolling 4 km (2.5 miles) of beach for Sea Turtles arriving to lay their eggs so they could harvest them for safe incubation in a protected nursery.
In that 9.5 months, they found 250 nests for a total of almost 20,000 eggs. Of those eggs, they successfully released just over 13,000: 12,800 were Olive Ridley, 196 Hawksbill, and 275 were Green Sea Turtles.
That sounds like a lot of baby turtles and it is, for a small foundation to take care of but imagine that just 1 in 1,000 turtles survives to maturity. That's a depressing statistic. So, you might be wondering what the heck is happening to the thousands of other cute little turtles we watched waddle to the sea?
The main threats, other than humans and dogs predating the nests, that the turtles face in our area are disorientation from lights of houses and streets, walls and houses built in nesting areas along the beach, extraction of sand from the beach, garbage, and lack of action by authorities to enforce the protection laws of Sea Turtles.
In November of this past year you may remember we had a mass casualty event of 163 mature Sea Turtles washed up on the shores of our beaches here and hundreds more in other areas of Panama. We tried our best to help in ways that we could but there just wasn't much we could do for lack of support from the governmental agencies of Panama and so it was never discovered what the cause of those deaths were.
Dedicating your life to the conservation of an animal species is wrought with challenges and heart break more so than successes yet, we thankfully forge on knowing that every effort is valiant and worth it in the end to save a turtle and inspire someone as well as a community to support a foundation like FUNDAT. In fact, this past year FUNDAT was successful in creating a civil society zoning committee to support the proper management of this area as well as completing the construction of the first Sea Turtle Conservation Visitors Center.
So, If you would love to be a part of this impactful type of life experience and want to learn more about Sea Turtle Conservation, we are again hosting an 8-day Sea Turtle Conservation Program this year and would love for you to be a part of it.
For more information, please visit our Sea Turtle Conservation Page of our website or simply reply with your shared love of Sea Turtles and let's talk Turtles!!
With So Much Love From Your Friends in Morrillo,
Cari and Ryan Mackey
Owners and Hosts
Morrillo Beach Eco Resort
Sea Turtle Conservation Tip of the Day: Turn off your outside lights if you live anywhere near a beach OR change your lights to a red light to avoid the deadly disorientation of Sea Turtles.