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Hawksbill sea baby turtles released in Leon

Cinthia Membreño | Jan 27, 2012

Juan Venado Island, one of the releasing points in Leon. | Photographer: Paul Hoekman

Dozens of baby turtles are currently been released at the Juan Venado Island Natural Reserve, as part of a protection project.

The birth of Hawksbill sea turtles is taking place in the beaches of Las Peñitas and Salinas Grandes since Wednesday, January 25. This has been accomplished thanks to a turtle nursery project that has been developed by the Biodiversity Research Center (CIB), since August 2011.

Pedrarias Dávila, director of the center, stated that 42 Hawksbill baby turtles were born and released in the Juan Venado Island Natural Reserved, which is famous for its mangrove forest and the rich wildlife that lives in it. The turtle release not only includes this last species, but also Olive Ridley Sea Turtles, Tora and Torita turtles.

Due to the fact that Hawksbill and Torita sea turtles have been declared endangered species worldwide, CIB has organized this project to ensure the survival of the species. Davila reported that - since the project started - they have managed to release 15,495 Olive Ridley Turtles, 15 Torita and 48 Hawksbill turtles.

In order to develop this project, the institution has established agreements with residents of coastal communities, so that they collect eggs after female turtles arrive at the beach. "Olive Ridley turtle nesting takes place between August and December. During this time, collaborators collect the eggs and take them to the nursery," said Davila.

Thousands of eggs are placed in 25 pounds plastic bags and placed in the sand exactly how the female turtle left them, but at the nursery. This way, the eggs can be incubated at the same temperature as they would under natural conditions. According to Davila, this guarantees that the presence of natural predators and humans does no interfere with their survival.

Nursery area

Playa Las Peñitas, Salinas Grandes and Isla Juan Venado Natural Reserve comprise a protected area of 18 kilometers which is currently used to place the nursery and protect turtles. According to Davila, the project is held annually there.

As mentioned earlier, the project began in August 2011 and will end in February this year. People interested in collaborating or witnessing the release of the turtles can call CIB to the following numbers: 8450 5514 (Movistar) or 8809 6982 (Claro).