30,000 Turtle Eggs Seized

Too late to put them back in the nest? Yeah, probably. Omelettes tomorrow
BY: CHARLIE TUNA

There was a massive seizure of turtle eggs in Oaxaca but a conservation group says poaching the eggs has actually declined.

Federal agents arrested five men after a routine stop on a highway revealed they were carrying 30,000 olive ridley sea turtle eggs. The men said they were on their way to the port city of Salina Cruz, where they hoped to sell their illegal cargo.

The olive ridley turtle, known in Mexico as tortuga golfina, is a protected species. The mamas pull up on Pacific coast beaches of Mexico by the thousands every year to dig a hole in the sand, squirt out their eggs, and then scoot back into the ocean to be done with motherhood.  Each time they do this they leave about 110 eggs, hoping that a few survive, in reality, a one in one thousand chance.

Although poachers do this theft of eggs every year, conservation and anti-poaching efforts have been somewhat successful. Dolores Barrientos, Mexico representative of the United Nations Environment Program, tells us there are fewer buyers of the eggs in recent years, taking a bow for their education programs.

“Before, a single buyer could go out and sell 700,000 eggs but not now,” said Ramírez. As demand for the illegal delicacy has dropped, she explained, poachers take only 1,000 or 2,000 eggs when the turtles first begin to arrive. Poaching is often suspended after the first night because they still have eggs at home that they were unable to sell. Many Mexicans believe turtle eggs are sort of the poor man’s Viagra.

Ramírez also told the UN representative that he has seen an increase in the numbers of turtles arriving to lay their eggs. She claimed that Escobilla beach had become the most important spawning area in the world, receiving up to 100,000 eggs of ridley, green and leatherback sea turtles per night.

“It is the No. 1 beach. Before it was in Costa Rica, but this beach has gone up in popularity over the last six years.”

100,000 a night? Kinda puts 30,000 purloined eggs in perspective. And remember, only one in 1000 eggs become adult turtles, so really only 30 turtles were impacted by these guys. They should hire us as their lawyer. And please, people, back off, we’re only playing devil’s advocate, we are not condoning egg thievery. Don’t send in those cards and letters, we only make paper airplanes out of them and buzz them around the office.