Turtle rescue, Bacocho Beach, Puerto Escondido, Mexico
It may not look like it, but it’s a long stretch of earth that separates life from death on Bacocho beach in Puerto Escondido, Mexico. If turtle eggs have survived the threat of crabs and ant raids, once they hatch they have even more obstacles to overcome. When you have legs an inch long and your tiny claws can barely scrape through the never ending grains of sand, when your fastest is probably not fast enough to get away from watchful seagulls that swoop and scoop with effortless grace to snatch you up and then, when and if you make it past all that, after running for your life to the whitewash of the great big ocean you still might get swallowed by crabs and jellyfish. Only 1 in 1,000 hatchlings will survive to adulthood. So to have the opportunity to help increase the chances of survival for one of these little creatures is about as soul fulfilling and heartwarming as it gets.
And there is nothing sweeter than a sweet, young child who’s enthusiasm for handing out a hundred adorable, hour-old baby turtles matches your enthusiasm for setting them free.
The baby turtle’s instincts are in full force straight out of the bucket. They squirm and struggle to get out of the half shell you’re given to carry them closer to the ocean. They know they have to make it to that water. No hesitation, no questions, just run as fast as their tiny, little legs will let them. Once a turtle makes it to adulthood it’s very likely they will survive up to 80 years old or more. And one of the most fascinating miracles of these wonderful animals is that after years out in a mapless sea, the females somehow know how to return to the very location they were born to also lay eggs. All the more reason to bring attention to the need for ecotourism and conservation. This beach needs to be forever accessible to them.
I named my baby turtle Herman. I believe he is a survivor. If only you could have seen the fever and spirit that he ran with, you too would believe. Green sea turtles like Herman are endangered so efforts to conserve and help keep these majestic creatures are immeasurable. If you visit Puerto Escondido supporting the local team that works to protect the sea turtles is practically mandatory. By paying a minuscule fee and participating in releasing the turtles you are supporting to help keep that particular part of Bacocho beach protected and giving these guys a better chance of survival. Not to mention, it will melt your heart and paste a smile on your face for as long as the memory lives with you.