A stash of sea turtle eggs not yet hatched have been found in Progreso and are being guarded by marine students at CETMAR.
About 135 Hawksbill eggs were rescued by fishermen in the west beach area, according to Diario de Yucatán.
They were handed over to the Center for Marine Technology’s Yucalpetén campus where students will protect them from predators until they hatch. Sea turtles have been hatching along the coast here since early August.
Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles are hatched on the peninsula at the end of each summer, often with the help of nature lovers.
A vulnerable species
Protecting endangered sea turtles is a national project, but in Yucatán alone there are nesting camps in Celestún, Sisal, Progreso, Alacranes, Telchac Puerto, Dzilam Bravo, Las Coloradas and El Cuyo.
A single turtle can lay eggs three or four times in the season; each egg incubates 60 days under the sand. Sea turtles have been a protected species here since 1990.
Of eight sea turtle species surviving in the world, seven exist in Mexico and four nest in the coasts of the Yucatan Peninsula: Green Turtle (Chelonia Midas), Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta), Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) and Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea).
They live in the water except when females come ashore to nest and lay eggs up to four times between April and July. Although agile in the water, an expectant turtle is slow and awkward on land and therefore vulnerable to predators.
As it is, the eggs rescued in Progreso were about to be attacked by stray dogs until fishermen came to the rescue.
They are killed for meat and leather; their eggs are taken for food and sold as aphrodisiacs — one person was once arrested when they were caught with hundreds of eggs for sale in the Centro.