The Mexican Caribbean is a very privileged place due to its natural wonders; its beaches, mangroves, reefs and jungles, each one of these incredible ecosystems is home to hundreds of amazing animals, but without a doubt the sea turtles stand out among them due to their majesty.
Contemporaries of the dinosaurs, sea turtles have a very long and exciting story to tell. A story that also has much to do with Mexico, because of the seven species of sea turtles that exist in the world, six nest in the coasts of Mexico, and four of them in Quintana Roo.
These millenial beings arrive each year to the white beaches of the Riviera Maya; they do this just as they have done for centuries. Each night from May to September, mainly Loggerhead and Green female sea turtles quietly leave the sea to deposit their eggs in the sand in order to perpetuate their species; occasionally Hawksbills and Leatherbacks also make an appearance.
Unfortunately, human activity is closely linked to the drastic decline of all species of sea turtles. Their life cycle is complex and what perhaps in some moment of their evolution was a success for their survival now makes them extremely fragile organisms.
For almost three decades, our program has been dedicated to the protection of sea turtles that spawn in 13 of the most important nesting beaches of Quintana Roo, comprising an area of 120 km of coastline.
On average, we protect 6,500 nests and release 500,000 sea turtle hatchlings annually. Each nest contains on average 120 eggs, which take about 2 months to hatch. When the hatchlings are ready, they try to reach the sea at sunset, dodging countless dangers to find refuge among coral reefs while they try to reach the ocean currents that gradually take them away from the place where they were born.
Incredibly, 12 to 20 years later, it is estimated that one in every 1,000 will return to the same area to mate, but only the females will return to the same beach in order to deposit their eggs to celebrate life just as their mother did.
Xel-Há Park has made the commitment to ensure that the turtles that arrive at its beach are protected, therefore, since 1996, it has been dedicated to their conservation, adding their efforts to the Sea Turtle Conservation Program run by Flora, Fauna, and Culture of Mexico, A.C., its social and environmental branch.
Xel-Há has protected 2,115 loggerhead nests and 4,180 green sea turtle nests on its beach between 1996 and July 2012 , adding up to a total of 6,295 nests protected for both species in only 16 years. We have also been able to release a total of 165,510 baby loggerhead turtles and 366,666 green sea turtles thus releasing a total of 532,116 baby sea turtles from both species, which is a very important contribution to the conservation of these incredible creatures.
The conservation program covers 13 beaches in the Riviera Maya and Tulum, including Xel-Há, and is considered one of the most important programs of its kind in our country, thanks to its almost 30 years of continuity.
For the third consecutive year, the Xel-Há Triathlon will be a sporting event with a cause, joining this great effort to save sea turtles, an essential part of our natural heritage.
We are all part of "The race for conservation".
If you wish to know more about the Sea Turtle Protection and Conservation Program, visit us at: Sea turtles