Record number of rare turtles born as pandemic brings respite on Mexico beach

Our Foreign Staff
·1 min read
Numbers of olive ridley turtles have dwindled in recent years
Numbers of olive ridley turtles have dwindled in recent years

Record numbers of a species of endangered baby turtles have hatched on a beach in Mexico after the pandemic reduced human activity

More than 2,250 olive ridley turtles were released into the Gulf of California by the indigenous Seri community, compared to the 500 released in a normal year. 

The turtles’ beach nests are normally disturbed by fishing and tourist activity, which have been hampered by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Olive ridley turtles, which get their name from the colour of their shell and are the smallest sea turtle species, are under threat globally as their rare nesting habitats are disturbed by human activity and climate change. 

The turtles only come ashore once a year to lay their eggs on beaches on the Mexican coast between May and September.

Although they are one of the most common sea turtles in the world, their numbers have dwindled to around 800,000 nesting females from 10 million at sea. 

The turtles are also threatened by fishing nets and by poachers, who take the creatures for their meat and skin, although the capture of turtles carries a large penalty in Mexico. 

Researchers at the University of Kent recently carried out a project to track thefts of the turtle eggs by using 3D-printed eggs equipped with GPS trackers, in an experiment inspired by the television show Breaking Bad. 

Researchers found many of the stolen eggs were taken to the surrounding area, some travelling as little as a few hundred metres.