April 6, 2024
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Record-Breaking Nesting of Leatherback Sea Turtles in Xcacel-Xcacelito, Tulum

TULUM, Quintana Roo — In a remarkable development for conservation efforts, Xcacel-Xcacelito, the renowned Marine Turtle Sanctuary located in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, has documented the nesting of the critically endangered leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) for the first time in 36 years. This significant event marks a milestone in the ongoing preservation of this magnificent species, recognized as the largest marine turtle in the world. The announcement was made by the Quintana Roo Institute of Biodiversity and Protected Natural Areas (Ibanqroo).

The Government of Quintana Roo has been actively working towards safeguarding the sea turtles and their habitats within the Marine Turtle Sanctuary. Collaborating with various sectors of society, the government has devised comprehensive strategies and concrete measures to protect these endangered species while simultaneously promoting scientific research and continuous monitoring of their populations.

The 2023 nesting season, which commenced on May 1st and concluded on June 16th, witnessed a total of 928 turtle nests being recorded. Among these, 270 nests belonged to the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), commonly known as the caguama, while 658 nests were attributed to the green turtle (Chelonia mydas) or the hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), collectively referred to as the white/green turtle. Notably, this season also witnessed the historic nesting event of a leatherback turtle.

Record-Breaking Nesting of Leatherback Sea Turtles in Xcacel-Xcacelito, Tulum

Since 1996 until 2022, the Xcacel-Xcacelito Turtle Sanctuary has documented a staggering 54,214 nests of white/green turtles and 9,030 nests of caguama turtles. Furthermore, the sanctuary has successfully released a total of 4,077,850 hatchlings of white/green turtles and 711,891 hatchlings of caguama turtles into the wild.

Beyond its vital role in conservation, Xcacel-Xcacelito has emerged as a prominent tourist attraction in Quintana Roo. While attracting visitors from near and far, the sanctuary remains steadfast in its commitment to protect these remarkable creatures and preserve their natural habitats. By embracing sustainable and responsible tourism practices, Xcacel-Xcacelito ensures that the delicate balance between conservation efforts and tourism development is maintained.

The nesting of the leatherback turtle, also known as the lute turtle, is indeed a cause for celebration. This species, characterized by its unique leathery shell, can grow up to seven feet long and weigh more than 2,000 pounds. It undertakes impressive long-distance migrations, traveling across entire oceans to nest on the shores where it was born. With populations declining globally, the sighting of a leatherback nest at Xcacel-Xcacelito provides hope for the conservation community.

Record-Breaking Nesting of Leatherback Sea Turtles in Xcacel-Xcacelito, Tulum

The successful nesting of the leatherback turtle can be attributed to the combined efforts of conservation organizations, government agencies, and local communities who have diligently worked towards creating a conducive environment for these endangered creatures. Strict protection measures, including monitoring nesting activities, safeguarding nesting sites, and raising awareness among the local populace, have significantly contributed to the positive outcome observed this season.

However, challenges persist. Coastal development, pollution, climate change, and unsustainable fishing practices continue to threaten the delicate ecosystems that these turtles depend on for survival. It is essential for stakeholders to remain vigilant and ensure the ongoing protection of these species and their habitats.

As Quintana Roo continues its pursuit of sustainable tourism and environmental stewardship, the Government and conservation organizations are committed to building upon the achievements of this nesting season. Investments in scientific research, habitat restoration, and community engagement will play a crucial role in securing a brighter future for these magnificent marine creatures.

Record-Breaking Nesting of Leatherback Sea Turtles in Xcacel-Xcacelito, Tulum

The recent nesting of the leatherback turtle at Xcacel-Xcacelito serves as a powerful reminder of the significance of conservation efforts and the positive outcomes that can be achieved when diverse stakeholders come together to protect our natural heritage. It is a testament to the unwavering dedication and perseverance of those committed to the preservation of our planet’s biodiversity.

As we reflect on this historic occasion, let us renew our collective commitment to safeguarding our oceans and the incredible marine life that inhabits them. The successful nesting of the leatherback turtle at Xcacel-Xcacelito is not only a cause for celebration but also a call to action to ensure that future generations can continue to witness the awe-inspiring journeys of these ancient mariners.


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