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TURTLE HATCHING SEASON OF BAJA
 August is the start of turtle hatching season on the Baja, and for the next five months tourists won't be the only things on the sandy beaches of the Pacific and the Sea of Cortez. Five species of sea turtle nest on the peninsula, some crossing the ocean from as far away as Japan to return to their breeding grounds: Olive Ridley, green, loggerhead, leatherback and hawksbill turtles. There are only seven species of sea turtles total, and six of them are considered endangered, the most endangered being leatherbacks, the prehistoric behemoths that can weigh more than 450 kilograms. The odds of survival are one in a thousand for every egg laid, but those odds are improving thanks in part to conservation efforts that began more than a decade ago with local fishermen. The dangers at sea include accidental capture and entanglement in fishing gear, ocean pollution and predators. On land, turtles have lost much of their nesting and feeding habitat to development, they face more pollution and they are hunted for food, coveted in several cultures as an exotic or medicinal product. Sea turtles spend their lives in the ocean, with the exception of females that come ashore to lay eggs every 2 to 5 years. The tour companies offering turtle tours say the industry provides an alternative to fishing, and support conservation. They also raise awareness both among locals and tourists.
Posted: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 12:47 PM by Nicholas Fong

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