Travel & Outdoors | September 2009
|Puerto Vallarta Hotels Combine Learning with Helping Endangered Sea Turtles|
Neala Schwartzberg - Examiner
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September 03, 2009
Sea turtles are making their way back to the shores of Puerto Vallarta in their ancient annual cycle of reproduction. This is a unique educational opportunity where children are sure to have fun while learning about this protected species.
Numerous hotels in Puerto Vallarta run a marine turtle conservation and protection program with the help of a professional marine biologist.
The eggs are incubated in their nests to best preserve natural conditions.
Once the hatchlings are born and ready to be set free into their natural habitat, the various hotels invite their guests to aid in the release of the newborn hatchlings on the beaches so they find their way into the water. Some of the hotels that participate in the program include the CasaMagna Marriot Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa, Velas Vallarta Suite Resort, Sheraton Buganvillas Resort, Dreams Puerto Vallarta, and Presidente Inter-Continental.
The main objective of the program is to protect the eggs from looting and natural predators in order to help the sea turtle population grow. Of course, this is also an opportunity for resort guests to learn about environmental conservation. Each night, throughout the sea turtle season, from July to December, resort staff members at properties located along the beach head down to the shore to gather sea turtle eggs.
After 45 days of protected incubation, the baby turtles hatch and are later released into the sea by resort guests in company of the marine biologist.
Although sea turtles live most of their lives in the ocean, adult females must return to beaches on land to lay their eggs. They often migrate long distances between foraging grounds and nesting beaches. Of the seven species of sea turtles (six of which are found in U.S. waters), all 7 species are listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)
In 2008, more than 81,000 turtles were released from the beaches of Puerto Vallarta of which approximately 8,000 turtles are expected to survive.
Within 10 years, the females will return and lay eggs at the same beach they hatched.