Natur & Miljø i Mexico: Månedsrapport
Conservation in Mexico - Monthly Update November/December 2011
Coming to the end of 2011
With over 2050 nests collected in 2011, we are proud to say that the aims for this year regarding our turtle conservation program have been achieved. Despite the unpredictable weather that occurred in the latter part of the year, and thanks to the hard work of our volunteers, our efforts to help protect these wonderful creatures have really paid off. The project was also lucky to receive assistance from the Government in the form of providing local residents with temporary jobs to help with nest collection on the northern beach during the high season of turtle nesting.
Once again it's been demonstrated that the amount of resources you have to support the conservation (staff, equipment etc.) is directly reflected in your results regarding nest collection. This year we gladly welcomed the addition of a new Government funded quad bike that was strong enough to patrol the south side of the beach, notorious for its irregular terrain. These factors that may seem small create a real difference in the results that can be achieved.
Not often do we get surprised by the Mexican weather, but this autumn was an exception. Hurricane Jova hit the Mexican coastline in October. It had formed very quickly out at sea and very suddenly reached category 3 status on the saffir- simpson scale. With sustained winds of 185 km/h, the hurricane hit the pacific shores approximately 120km north of the turtle camp. Although the camp escaped a direct hit from Jova, the effects were felt all along the Mexican coast, including Tecoman. As a safety precaution we evacuated the camp before the hurricane was due to make landfall. Volunteers and staff checked into a hotel in Tecoman, where we stayed for a couple of days.
Luckily the camp structures were not affected, but the areas surrounding camp suffered considerably as the rains continued for several days. Flooding ensued, cutting off roads and bringing down constructions. Both the nearby lagoons opened up to the sea, seriously restricting the turtle patrols for a couple of weeks.
The reconstruction work earlier this year really paid off, as the facilities could stand against the strong winds and battering waves. The maintenance work our volunteers have done proved to be worthy. It may not be the most glamorous of jobs, but it stood up against the force of Hurricane Jova which proves how essential it is to maintain the facilities. Without the camp, the turtle population would suffer, so we are truly grateful for the effort.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Jova, the crocodile farm suffered its worst flooding in over 10 years.
As a result of this, the pools that house the crocodiles overflowed, allowing the crocodiles to escape to the adjacent lagoon that holds a population of over 250 wild or semi-tame crocodiles. 45 crocodiles managed to escape into the lagoon.
This put them in real danger as crocodiles that have been born and raised in captivity are not able to hunt for they own food. Wild crocodiles are also very territorial and will fight any new arrivals who may be threatening their turf. In response to this we started to take on extra night monitoring in order to capture as many of the loose specimens as we could before the mating season starts, as this is when the crocodiles get particularly territorial.