Helping Sea Turtles Come Back From The Brink
Wouldn’t it be nice to give back to the places we visit when we travel? To help them remain the beautiful, inspiring destinations where we get away from it all?
This is the idea driving the new trend of ecotourism: traveling that helps the environment.
Because so many travelers are now interested in doing something good for the places they stay, there are more and more programs that allow them to help protect local lands and wildlife.
One that’s become especially popular is the Sea Turtle Release program run by the Palace Foundation. In this program, visitors to several of the Palace Resorts properties in Cancun can help baby sea turtles hatch and safely make their way to the ocean.
It’s no surprise that the program has become a traveler favorite—what could be a better vacation highlight than helping a baby turtle wiggle out into the big wide world?
Releasing Baby Sea Turtles in Cancun
It all starts with protecting the mother sea turtles that arrive at the resort beaches. Dedicated biologists and volunteers work at night, when the mothers come to build their nests and lay eggs.
Program workers stay with the mothers to protect them, making sure that the eggs can be laid successfully. Once the mothers are done, the nests are marked and guarded. If it looks like certain nests need extra care, the eggs will be brought back and incubated indoors.
The real fun begins when the eggs are ready to hatch. At this point, everyone is encouraged to join in, including resort visitors, employees, and the general public. It is a great communal experience, where everyone prepares to help the newly hatched babies reach the water.
The releases are done in the evening to protect the babies from predators and poachers who would be able to see them more easily during the day. Any babies that hatched earlier are kept safe until this time. Participants get to release the babies and guard them as they waddle out to the ocean. It’s often described as the most memorable experience of their entire trip!
Making a Difference
Hundreds of leatherback and loggerhead turtles come to nest on the resort beaches, laying 100-200 eggs at a time. But only 1 in every 1000 babies survives to adulthood. Almost all sea turtle species are endangered, meaning that they need all the help they can get to survive and thrive.
This program gives travelers a chance to make a major difference. Since it started, over 1.2 million baby sea turtles have been released, and more than 13,700 individual nests that have been protected from harm. All of the data that the biologists collect from the program is used to help with conservation efforts.
The program is also making a big impact on the purity of the local beaches. Participants pick up an average of 1,400 tons of trash each year, helping those picturesque beaches stay safe and beautiful for turtles and humans alike.
When & Where You Can Participate
Sea turtle nesting season runs late summer through fall. When the season is at its height, releases are held every evening.
You can participate in the program at several resorts in Cancun, including:
Moon Palace Cancun
The Grand at Moon Palace Cancun
Interested in helping baby sea turtles on your next vacation? You can find out more about the program by visiting the Palace Foundation website.