Helping Baja's Sea Turtles - Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Grupo Tortuguero
Helping Baja’s Sea Turtles

Sea turtle monitoring, nurseries, and hatchling release programs are helping to improve sea turtle survival rates in Los Cabos.

Los Cabos Magazine article - Issue #10 - January 2006 - by: Sabrina Lear
Pro Peninsula

Sea turtles migrate the world's oceans and have come to Los Cabos beaches to lay their eggs for millions of years. Two of the world's eight sea turtle species nest in Los Cabos. The smallest, the Olive Ridley, also known as the golfina, nests June through to December. The golfina feeds on shrimp, jellyfish, snails and algae, and can grow to 26 inches long, weighing up to 90 pounds. The largest marine turtle, the Laud, or leatherback, nests on our beaches from November through February. Leatherbacks grow up to 70 inches long, weighing up to 1,300 pounds. Its favorite food is jellyfish, and it will dive up to one kilometer in search of food. Golfinas, and especially leatherbacks, are endangered species, suffering from the effects of long lines, fishing nets, development, and illegal poaching.

The Campamento Tortuguero Don Manuel Orantes is a turtle monitoring and hatchling release program with a protected nursery on the beach next to the San José del Cabo estuary. Run by the Los Cabos municipal government, a core group of staff led by a biologist patrol the beaches for turtle activity, transferring eggs to the nursery for release during nesting season. In Cabo San Lucas, the non-profit ASUPMATOMA operates a similar program on Pacific beaches, along with a weeklong turtle camp program for the public during the Olive Ridley nesting season each fall.
Asumptomas - Preserving Sea Turtles Asumptomas - Helping Sea Turtles

Most mature sea turtle females return to the beach of their birth, called a natal beach, to dig their nests and lay their eggs at night. Only about one in 1,000 of their offspring will survive the treacherous journey from the nest to maturity. After incubating for about two months, they hatch, and take several days to claw their way out of the nest, instinctively making their way to the sea, following the moon and the horizon. Many fall prey to birds and sand crabs as they struggle to reach the shore, others are led off track by deep grooves left from vehicular traffic and disorienting artificial lighting from beachfront hotels and residential areas. Once in the ocean, they face new predators or are victims of long line fishing nets, poaching and pollution.

Sea turtle nursery programs greatly improve hatchling survival rates through the first critical stage of their lives. The tiny hatchlings are returned to their nesting area, and released close to the sea at sunrise or sunset. Some programs groom the sand smooth to make the journey to the sea easier.

How can you get involved? Donate, volunteer, sponsor a turtle through ASUPMATOMA, participate in a release program, and please don't drive, take ATVs, or horses on the beach. To learn about Campamento Tortuguero Don Manuel Orantes and ASUPMATOMAs’ hatchling release and sea turtle conservation programs, visit

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