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FACTS ABOUT SEA TURTLES
All seven species are considered threatened or endangered. Two are critically endangered (hawksbill and Kemp's ridley), one is endangered (green and and three are threatened (leatherback, olive ridley, and loggerhead). Flatbacks are listed as data deficient on the IUCN Red List but are listed as endangered in Australia.
It is estimated that only one out of 1,000 hatchlings survives to be an adult. They have many natural predators including birds, crabs, fish, and mammals like racoons. But the female adults can lay thousands of eggs over their lifetimes, so at least a few of them survive to maintain the species.
The sex of sea turtles, like other reptiles, depends on the temperature in the nest. That temperature is generally around 82 degrees F (29 degrees C) though that can vary by species and location.
Sea turtles don't have a favorite food (though most will eat jellyfish.) Each species focuses on different prey for food; the leatherback eats mostly jellyfish, greens primarily eat seagrass, loggerheads prefer crustaceans, and hawksbills eat primarily sea sponges.
Some sea turtles migrate very long distances while others stay close to home. Leatherbacks and loggerheads can travel thousands of miles each year, while greens and olive ridleys have shorter migrations, while hawksbills rarely leave a relatively small area.
HABITAT & DIET
Sea turtles live in almost every ocean basin throughout the world, nesting on tropical and subtropical beaches. They migrate long distances to feed, often crossing entire oceans. Some loggerheads nest in Japan and migrate to Baja California Sur, Mexico to forage before returning home again. Leatherbacks are capable of withstanding the coldest water temperatures (often below 40F) and are found as far south as Chile and as far north as Alaska.
These reptiles spend their entire lives at sea, except when adult females come ashore to lay eggs several times per season every 2 to 5 years. After about sixty days, baby sea turtles (known as "hatchlings") emerge from their sandy nests and make their way to the ocean - attracted to the distant horizon. Light polution from shore may confuse the hatchlings on their journey to the sea. The juvenile turtles spend their first few years in the open oceans, eventually moving to protected bays, estuaries, and other nearshore waters as adults.
Each species relies on a different diet: greens eat sea grasses; leatherbacks feed on jellyfish and soft-bodied animals; loggerheads eat heavy-shelled animals such as crabs and clams; hawksbills rely on sponges and other invertebrates: and the Kemp's ridley prefers crabs. Learn more about sea turtle diets.
These ancient creatures have been on Earth for more than 100 million years - even surviving the dinosaurs when they became extinct 65 million years ago. Among the threats these marine reptiles face are entanglement, habitat loss, and consumption of their eggs and meat.
Sea turtles often drown when caught in fishing gear. Coastal development can destroy important nesting sites, impact coral reefs, and artificial light from houses and other buildings attracts hatchlings away from the ocean. Pollution like plastic bags are often mistaken for food such as jellyfish and ingested, which blocks their intestines and potentially kills them. In some countries, they are hunted for their meat and shells and their eggs are eaten.
La Sirena Gordita?
La Sirena Gordita Tapas & Bar Restaurant is non-profit that protects sea turtles through conservation, small tours, we help save sea turtle hatchlings on an important nesting beach in our area of Jalisco, Mexico. We collect and recycle plastic from turtle habitats, we work under the supervision of The University of Guadalajara to collect eggs, and educate children and travelers about how to help save sea turtles.
Coco, as a puppy would tag along while we were out doing turtle nest hunting. Instictively, domestic dogs will find and dig up nests and make a meal of the eggs. We are not sure how she developed her skill of locating, and digging for nests. With no prompting, she finds the nest and she digs until she is millimeters from the eggs. At this point she will back out of the deep hole she dug, and let her humans take over. She is very careful not to damage any eggs, and takes pride in the work she does. She has also be known to be very protective of "her" eggs, making sure that no starngers get close. She will go back to the sanctuary and watch as the eggs are put into the sand in the sanctuary. When the hatchlings are ready to go the ocean, again she will stand guard and protect the hatchlings until the last one enters the sea. Her history; Mike Benjamin, a friend, and long time resident in the area, found and rescued Coco's mother, Mija, on New Years Day, 2020, who was pregnant, and thirty-two days later Mija had her pups. Mike assisted, and went to bed after the three pups were born. When he woke up in the morning a 4th surprise after he had gone to bed. Coco was number 4. Mija and Rocky, Coco's brother, from the same litter, are still with Mike, and the other two pups were adopted out.
The following article written by Joseph Sorrentino, Published on Thursday, November 17, 2022, Mexico Daily News
A turtle's best friend: Coco the dog sniffs out the marine animals' eggs for conservation, She trained herself to dig up turtle nests so the endangered eggs can be transported to safety
Coco sits in my lap in the pre-dawn darkness, shifting anxiously and sniffing the salty air as she waits for her mission to begin. The jacket this dog wears announces the work she does: Turtle Egg Rescue Agent. Eileen Hoeter, her owner and the person in charge of Coco Turtle Rescue, one of the two turtle sanctuaries in Playa Coco, Jalisco, puts her four-wheel drive jeep in gear, and we start for the beach.
Hoeter and her husband Jedd have been running their turtle sanctuary, since they moved to Playa Coco in 2015 and built Villa Star of the Sea' a small resort. "We'd walk on the beach, and we'd see baby turtles or females laying eggs," she said. "Then Ecco-Bana, an animal rescue organization in Barra Navidad' asked us to build a turtle sanctuary."
Since then, when she's in Jalisco, she's out virtually every day before dawn' searching for turtle nests. "You have to be out early to beat the poachers and the dogs," she said. She is certified by and works under the supervision of the University of Guadalajara.
Coco, however, hasn't had any training. Adopted as a puppy from a friend who'd found Coco's mother as a pregnant stray, she tagged along on the turtle egg rescue missions. Before Coco, Hoeter was on her own. "I'd get on my hands and knees and dig." That could take her up to an hour. Then, one day, without prompting, Coco started digging. "She can smell the eggs and turtles," Hoeter said.
Coco will dig deep until she is millimeters from the eggs. She's careful not to damage them and lets the humans take over. She also guards the eggs from strangers until they are safely in the sanctuary, and then again later as the hatchlings make their way to the sea. Three species of turtles lay eggs on this beach; olive ridley and green turtles are both designated as "vulnerable," while the third, the leatherback turtle, is critically endangered.
To find nests, Hoeter scans the beach for turtle tracks, which look remarkably like tire tracks, except turtle tracks run perpendicular to the water's edge while tire tracks mostly run parallel. As we drive out on a mission, Hoeter pointed out holes surrounded by dried egg shells saying, "Those eggs were eaten by dogs." She also showed me empty holes. "Those are poachers," she said. "They aren't dangerous."
Despite a five-year jail term for poaching, people steal eggs to sell for their supposed aphrodisiac properties. While she doesn't condone poaching, she's understanding. "They sell the eggs for five or eight pesos," she said. "They're trying to make some money."
When Hoeter spied an eagle with a baby turtle in its beak, she knew there was a nest nearby; Coco located it immediately, with six new turtles still inside. With the sun already up, if Coco hadn't found them, they almost certainly would have dried out and died before reaching the sea, she said.
Coco located another nest and dug furiously, stopping every few seconds to put her nose deeper in the hole. As soon as she saw white - indicating she'd found the eggs - she stopped digging and backed off, letting Hoeter take over. "You must be very careful," Hoeter said. "I loosen the eggs and I close my eyes. When Coco later found yet another nest with 40 or 50 newly hatched turtles, Hoeter placed them in a bucket with some water and took them to the water's edge. "You don't put them directly in the water," she said. "They pick up something from the sand. Sand here is different from sand in all other places. After three years, females come back here [to lay their eggs]. Males never come back." At the turtle sanctuary, Hoeter digs holes the same depth as the original nests, gently places the eggs in and fills them with sand. A stick marks the location. Fifty-five days later, between 75% and 85% of the eggs will hatch, and the babies will be released to the sea.
"Eggs that are laid are asexual,"Hoeter said. "The higher the eggs are [in a nest], the warmer they are and they will become females. It,s cooler at the bottom, and they will become males. With the climate warming, there will be more females." Baby turtles are a study in determination. After digging out from a nest buried at least two feet deep, the new turtles head to the water, 50 yards away. They use their flippers like paddles, pushing themselves forward, pausing every three or four seconds to gather themselves for another push. A wave comes in and knocks them back, turning them around, but they point themselves toward the ocean and continue. Finally, they disappear into the water, and the ocean takes them on their inevitable journey. Baby turtles face all kinds of challenges: as they cross the beach, they'll be eaten by eagles and terns. Crabs drag them into their holes. Even if the turtles reach the water, they become food for a number of predators. If they live, they soon are required to find food. Babies have a food sac that keeps them nourished for three days. but after that, they begin hunting for a variety of aquatic insects, plants and small fish.
Hoeter said that it's thought that one out of a 1,000 survive.
She files regular reports on her work with the University of Guadalajara, recording the number of nests destroyed by dogs or taken by poachers and releases an estimated 8,000-20,000 turtles a season - from November through May. When asked, she says she hasn't noticed any change in the number of nests she finds but has seen other changes. "I've seen some nests with tiny eggs," she said. "This has only been in the last two years. These are eggs that won't hatch."
Most of the sanctuary's maintenance is footed by the Hoeter, though they do have fundraisers and accept donations. Hoeter said she loves her work. "It's an amazing thrill to help these creatures," she said. And, she added, "It's a beautiful way to start your day."
https://www.facebook.com/luiseugenior, Luis Eugenio Rivera Cervantes, Luis runs a Wild Life Rescue and Sanctuary in Autlan, Jalisco, Mexico.
WILDLIFE PRESERVATION, Autl an, Jalisco, Mexico.
Sixteen years ago, Luis Eugenio Rivera Cervantes, an unsung hero, started saving wildlife that were wounded, either through natural means in the wild, or hit by vehicles or shot, or any other animal in need, he would take in and nurse back to health and release if possible.
Many hundreds of animals have been released back into the wild but many others, because of their severe injuries, would never survive again in the wild. Luis has housed them and takes care of them on a round the clock basis. Everything from hawks, owls, gila monsters, boa constrictors, raccoons and all sorts of different animals, he has taken in and dedicated himself to their well-being even though it may be in captivity now.
We met Luis through a post he posted several months ago and finally we were able to go to Autlan, Mexico and meet this very special man and visit his animal sanctuary, and to see the selfless, exceptional work h e does to keep these animals. Between walking through the grass with 23 turtles wandering around to a hawk that sits in the garden, to owls that have had their wings amputated, due to the severity of their injuries, and snakes that have had their head bitten and are no longer able to fend for or feed themselves. The severe injuries these animals have suffered were life altering. These animals would be left at his doorstep in some cases, with injuries to severe to heal or be fixed by veterinarians. Luis dedicates his time to all of these animals.
Luis, a university professor, at the University of Guadalajara in entomology, has learned, how to take care for all these different species to ensure they have a healthy life either in captivity now or before they are able to be set free. This man has dedicated his life and his home to this cause. Now, for 14 years with no help other than small donations from people. He is amazing and we are trying to help him as much as we can. He currently is trying to build a larger Aviary for the owls he takes care of. One, a female is blind and another male, has a wing amputation and they have become a mated pair. A larger aviary is required to allow the female to construct her nest. One of the ways we can help is to send Luis donations so he can continue to care for and feed these animals, and take care of the new ones that come into his sanctuary.
Anything you can do or help is appreciated. It was a very wonderful experience to meet him and we are in awe of all he does for all these animals. He also welcomes a visit to see the animals. This very special man has deciated his life and his home to a very special cause. Thank you for reading this and thank you for helping if you can. Every little bit helps.
Eileen Hoeter and Jedd Derry
Donations are most welcome so he can continue the work he does as the sanctuary continues to grow with new animals require the kindness Luis provides. Luis also welcomes people to visit the sanctuary. He takes time for all and is dedicated to the wildlife education.
If you would like to donate to help with Luis' Wildlife Rescue His PayPal account is: email@example.com
The pictures below are from our visit with Luis.