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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Tour agency in hot water after running over sea turtle nests on a beach in Mexico

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
An all-terrain vehicle belonging to Xplora Mexico on the beach. Photo: Courtesy

A tour company has angered Río Lagartos locals after their vehicles damaged sea turtle nests on the beach — according to Por Esto

Though motor vehicles are not allowed on the beach, Xplora Mexico is accused of causing irreparable damage to the nests of turtles and birds, as well as to the area’s dunes.

When confronted by locals, the tour conductors said they did not see any signs disallowing the activities.

“Ignorance is no defense. If you are going to run a tour and bring vehicles on the beach, you really ought to know the rules,” said Río Lagartos resident Josefa Esquivel.

The tour company based in Veracruz fled the scene before police could arrive but environmental authorities say that charges are being drawn up against the tour operator. 

It is not clear exactly what list of charges is to be brought up against the Xplora, but legal precedent suggests that those responsible could be looking at hefty fines as well as prison time. 

Earlier: Baby turtles head to sea with help of international residents

Locals say that they tried to get the tour operators to stay to face the consequences of their actions, but that they did not use force to do so as they feared later being accused of kidnapping. 

This is because in Mexico, there is no such thing as a citizen’s arrest ⁠— even when the offense is flagrant. 

For its part, Xplora Mexico has remained silent on its Facebook page and website and has not responded to any media inquiries asking for their side of the story  ⁠— Yucatán Magazine included. 

Motor vehicles operating on the beach are also a significant hazard for sea turtles. Image for illustrative purposes only. Photo: Campamento Tortuguero Partmacy

There are three species of sea turtles native to the Peninsula: the caguama, carey, and verde — all of which are endangered. 

The carey was once the most endangered, but harsh punishments against the trafficking of its meat, shells and eggs seem to have helped the species bounce back from the brink of extinction.

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