The Spawning and Birth of Turtles
The massive arrival of the Olive Ridley turtle to spawn on the beaches of Nicaragua is a worthy spectacle to see. This phenomenon occurs only upon some beaches in the world. On the American continent it’s possible to experience among others on the beaches of Bocas del Toro, Panama, Ostional – Nancite, Costa Rica, Chacocente and La Flor, Nicaragua and Monterrico, Guatemala. The Olive Ridley turtle is the smallest of the sea turtles. They reach a weight of some 45ks and they can live to be 60 years. The mysterious life of these marine creatures and its strange body reminds us of the dinosaurs’ era. Their mysticism wakes up curiosity and converts her into a target for those that do not conform to enjoy their presence on the beaches, but has a desire to taste the meat and eggs. Many ecologists groups fight for their protection and preservation. The sea turtles are of migratory spirit, but they return to spawn upon the place where they were born, thus being the one and only time that they have contact with firm ground. Otherwise they live out in the sea. The males pass all the life at sea. According to studies the turtle copulate with any male, including their own brothers.
Between six and seven times per year from July to January some 30 thousand Olive Ridley turtles approach the beaches of La Flor and some 40 thousand to the beaches of Chacocente. Each turtle lays between 90 and 120 eggs. After 45 to 60 days the baby turtles are born. It is impressive to see as these tiny beings fight from the start of their lives to survive. It is an indescribable sensation to be woken up at full moon night by the sea, with small turtles all over the body. To see the movement of thousands of baby turtles that rise out of every millimeter of sand along hundred of meters of beach. It is an interminable procession, a mixture of myth and magic. It is difficult for the brain to understand how those small bodies can get to reach such a size and gigantic weight. Although studies reveal that out of thousand eggs survive six turtles, and one or two becomes adult.
To protect and preserve these species in Nicaragua they have seasons in which the extraction of eggs from the nests is forbidden. At present there is an agreement between the Ministry of Natural Resources and the settlers of the nearby communities to the beaches where the turtles arrive. During the seven months of the forbidden season the ministry must deliver part of the eggs to the settlers in exchange for that they abstain from extracting them on their own account, and that they cooperate with the army in the vigilance of the spawning of the turtle. It is a complex situation, because on the one hand is at stake the protection of these important animals and at the other hand, to sell the meat and the turtle’s eggs is the principal source of income for the inhabitants of the zone. This program has been beneficial.
A journey to La Flor or Chacocente is an experience that you do not forget. Even the geography of the place has something virgin, mystic and wild to it. You have to come prepared to enter in a world that reminds us of an epoch far from the modern and the technical. It is a true encounter with nature and its mysteries.
Campaign to save the sea turtle
During many years Nicaragua’s environmental community has promoted an active education campaign, to save the domestic sea turtles. Many Green turtles die asphyxiated in the nets of the fishers. Each year thousands of turtles are hunted for their meat. Also the eggs are very liked and it’s one reason why the Olive Ridley and Green turtles are in danger of extinction. One of the objectives of the campaign is to make the Government and the population aware of the need to protect the turtle. Among others the Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of Education, the Mayor’s office and the Army participates in the campaign.
Nicaragua obtains export license for shrimps
In April this year Nicaragua was granted certification to export shrimp to the USA. This certificate is only granted the countries that pass the supervision of the United States to verify the utilization of devices to protect the sea turtles. These devices are exits in the nets of the shrimp fishing boats that permits the turtle that enter to escape. This disposition is an answer of the Government of the United States to the requirements from the environmental groups. According to North American authorities, Nicaragua was the first country to obey in time and form with the requirements to obtain the certification. Other Latin American countries that obtained the certificate were Argentine, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela. Honduras was the only Central American country that did not get a certificate this year, nor last year. The certificate will permit Nicaragua to export shrimps to the US for an amount of 50 million of dollars per year.
Nicaragua uses trackers on turtles
The past month of August they placed transmitters on three Hawksbill turtles in the Cayos Perlas, Nicaragua. This modern technology is used for the first time in Nicaragua. They expect to be able to know more about the habitat, the nutrition, reproduction and life of these mystic sea inhabitants. The obtained information in the study of these three marine beings will be used in the fight for the protection and prevention of the extinction of the sea turtles. Belize and Costa Rica also use trackers to study the turtle’s life. Thanks to the obtained information it is known that a sea turtle is able to travel all over the Caribbean Sea.