It’s Turtle Season!

Get your fresh turtle eggs, cheaper than Viagra

Turtle season is under way on the Oaxaca coast, on the mainland of Mexico where thousands of mamas arrive every year to deposit as many as 100 eggs each. They rather carelessly, it seems, dig shallow holes in the sand, squirt out their children, and immediately hustle back to the Pacific Ocean and swim away. These are not candidates for Mother of the Year. Half the eggs don’t even hatch, and from those that do, baby turtles will emerge after cooking for about 45 to 70 days.

At that point they will get the hell out of Dodge as quick as they can, scurrying down the beach to the sea, running a gauntlet of predators and the powerful surf. It’s estimated that only 2% survive to become careless mamas and daddies themselves. Turtles are what, about 5 billion years old? Why haven’t they perfected this procreation thing by now? Well, maybe they have, there are a lot of turtles in the sea.

The eggs are easy pickings for humans and 20 nests of eggs will fill a sack with 2,000 of them, which will fetch between $35 and $70 U.S. on the black market. They are used as the poor man’s Viagra. Their big predator these days is people. Specifically male people.

“The looters arrive at night, with their sacks, and remove the eggs minutes after they are laid”, explained Haro Bélchez of the government agency Profepa. “They deliver them to distributors who take them to Juchitán or Puerto Escondido, which are the main distribution and sales points.”

Last month a monitoring and surveillance plan was implemented in conjunction with the National Protected Areas Commission, the federal police and the Navy.

They will use two drones in the hunt.

Highway checkpoints will also be set up and additional beach and sea patrols by Profepa inspectors and the Navy are being considered. So far this year, Profepa has registered 33,884 nests dug by this year’s mamas, with most under protection and the remaining 2,000 are being monitored by the drones.

Authorities seized 5,000 stolen eggs in one weekend last month, and were able to return them to the beach and bury them in the sand again before the little tykes knew what happened to them.

Here, closer to home, our beaches are not so deserted, and we have plenty of volunteers to patrol. Those volunteers include Gringos, Canucks, and Choyeros. (Locals). A big part of the Los Cabos effort is the hotel guards who have been trained to locate and protect any turtle nests on their beach.

And anyway, we all know better than to eat little baby turtles. Don’t we?