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Release Baby Turtles into the Ocean
The beaches of Riviera Maya in northeast Mexico offer plenty of beauty – and they’re also where a variety of turtles lay their eggs each year. This means there’s a unique opportunity for vacationers at Now Resorts & Spas’ luxury resorts: learning about, then helping out, the shelled sea reptiles. Thanks to ongoing turtle conservation efforts, part of the annual turtle release program, resort guests and the community can learn about safety precautions needed during nesting months, which are May through October.
At Now Resorts’ Cancun locations – which has seen white, green sea and, most often, hawksbill turtles – employees spend months working to protect the nests. When hatchlings arrive, guests of all ages are encouraged to release the young animals into their natural environment. A vacation highlight for many guests: getting to hold baby turtles just before they’re released into the ocean.
After a turtle leaves eggs on the resort’s beach, it’s reported to security and the environmental coordinator, who will regularly check on the nest afterward.
As long as the eggs don’t need to be relocated, the nest is secured by a thin metal net, with a flag noting details like the species, date the eggs were laid, number of eggs and approximate date when they’ll hatch.
When the eggs are ready for hatching, the nest is checked constantly so no turtles are missed. Depending on the hatching time, the resort determines when to release the creatures – and then sends invitations to resort guests. Normally, a release happens at about sundown to prevent birds from taking the newborns. The whole thing takes 20 to 25 minutes, since turtles shouldn’t be in contact too long with humans.
The resort organizes guests in a line, to help prevent accidents with the turtles, and stations them a few feet from the shore. Each visitor is given a turtle to watch as well as safety precautions about how to hold it. And there’s no flash photography, which can damage the creatures’ eyesight. Workers quickly share a few words about the species, then tells guests to place the animals on the sand, leaving them to make their way to their new ocean home.