Our Evening with Olive Ridley Sea Turtles

Our Evening with Olive Ridley Sea Turtles

Lu, Mac, Deb and I joined a conservation tour trip out to witness female Olive Ridleys coming to shore to their place of birth and dig their nest, and lay their eggs.  It was a late night: vivid stars, shooting stars, Milky Way.  The Nicaraguan military protect these beaches from poachers with armed personnel on the beach throughout the night.  Eggs are extremely valuable on the black market.  Costa Rica, which has no standing military, a whole separate topic, relies on volunteers to patrol nesting beaches.  The group we joined was very controlled and monitored.  We probably saw 10-12 turtles in some stage of laying their eggs. We left at midnight and the arrivals of turtles seemed to just get started.  We named one of the turtles Mirtle. It was amazing to witness the female head from or back to the ocean.  Our group was small – mostly French and American – two other families in addition to ours.  This species of turtle has been engaged in this annual nesting process for 185 million years.  The females return to the exact beach where they were born.  One in a 1000 hatchlings make it to adulthood.  As a family, this was a fabulous evening.  Personally, this experience fulfills a lifetime dream.

3 responses to Our Evening with Olive Ridley Sea Turtles

  1. Caroline says:

    What an awesome experience, Colburn! So interesting they have no standing military yet they protect their turtles from poachers. That is incredible! Go Mirtle!!! You. Can. Do. It.

    • dshindell says:

      It is an interesting contradiction in some ways – CR, despite their “eco-consciousness”, relies on volunteers (mostly internationals) to protect the turtles because they have no internal resources to do so. In contrast, Nicaragua doesn’t have the best “eco” reputation, yet the Government is more proactive in protecting the nests. Great for a discussion over beers some night.

  2. Sharon Jimenexz says:

    How interesting. I would love to have seen this.. ENJOY.

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