The release of baby turtle hatchlings to the ocean is unquestionably one of the most fascinating and enriching experiences you will ever experience. Get ready to release your turtle into the wild; liberate the rest of the nest and watch as they start their new life in the ocean!
Sea Turtles in Los Cabos
The Sea of Cortez and Baja California peninsula are home to five species of sea turtles; Hawksbill, Loggerhead, Leatherback, Green Turtle and Olive Ridley – all of which are endangered. Thankfully we have ASUPMATOMA (The Association for the Protection of the Environment and the Marine Turtle in Southern Baja) and other local grassroot organizations that have formed to help & protect the sea turtles.
Late August until early December is considered turtle season here on the Baja when the turtles come home to lay their eggs.
Baja Turtle Facts
- It is estimated that 35,000 sea turtles are illegally hunted and killed annually throughout Baja California.
- 5 out of 7 of the world’s endangered sea turtle species inhabit Baja California peninsula.
- The Leatherback Sea Turtle can grow to weigh as much as 2000 lbs! It is also the deepest diving and most migratory of all sea turtles.
- The correct term for a baby turtle is “hatchling”.
Hatchlings do not have sex chromosomes! Their gender is determined by the temperature within the nest.
In Baja California South have the presence of five species of sea turtles, but only three of them come to the shores to nest. Two of them nest on a regular basis, the Olive Ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) and the Leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) while the Green turtle (Chelonia mydas), it does sporadically.
The Olive Ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) It is the smallest sea turtles in the Pacific Ocean species. In Mexico, it is mainly distributed in the lower part of the Peninsula: from Magdalena Bay to the south, in the Pacific and the Gulf of California. Its shell is gray – olive and can measure up to 78 cm. It comes to spawn off the coast of Baja California Sur, in the months of July to November mainly, although it is a species that you can see spawns all year.
The Leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) It is the species of the world’s largest sea turtle. It has no hard shell like the others, but is soft. In Mexico it is mainly distributed in Michoacan, Guerrero and Oaxaca. Its shell can measure up to 175 cm. Their nesting season in the Eastern Pacific is from October to April. At present, this species is Critically Endangered and nesting on the coast of Baja California Sur is very low.
Green turtle (Chelonia mydas) It is distributed throughout the eastern Pacific, being common from the center of the Baja California Peninsula and the Gulf of California to northern Peru. In Mexico, nests primarily in Michoacan. Its shell is dark and can measure up to 90 cm. They come to spawn off the coast of Baja California South sporadically, as the main nesting areas are in Colola and Maruata (Michoacan) and Clarion Island and the Revillagigedo Islands Socoro.
Why is important protect the turtle?
For more than 100 million years sea turtles have covered vast distances across the world’s oceans, filling a vital role in the balance of marine habitats.
Human activities have tipped the scales against the survival of these ancient mariners. Nearly all species of sea turtle are classified as Endangered. Slaughtered for their eggs, meat, skin and shells, sea turtles suffer from poaching and over-exploitation. They also face habitat destruction and accidental capture in fishing gear. Climate change has an impact on turtle nesting sites. It alters sand temperatures, which then affects the sex of hatchlings.
If you want to support and help organizations that protect these species, approach to:
- ASUPMATOMA (The Association for the Protection of the Environment and the Marine Turtle in Southern Baja): http://www.asupmatoma.org
- todostortugeros.org (Environmental Conservation with Sea Turtle Focus Todos Santos, Las Playitas y Agua Blanca, B.C.S., Mexico)