As we enter the darkest phase of the moon, the turtle activity seems to have declined slightly. However, due to our recent reporting of the poacher’s breach of agreement and subsequent egg theft, the presence of coast guards on the beach at night has risen from zero to four. As if to justify their presence even further, they were the ones to discover the only two nests that have been taken to the hatchery in the past couple of days! Hopefully this will inspire them to stick around, as their dedication is greatly needed.
For expedition team 1, the week in Pacuare is drawing to a close and instead of our usual afternoon beach duties, clearing the plethora of plastic from this remote coastline, and removing the logs which not only trip us up in the dark, but more importantly, may deter a cautious turtle from nesting, we opted for a locally-run wildlife tour instead. Our guide, Freddy, had an extremely keen eye, and alerted us to troupes of spider monkeys performing their aerial acrobatics in the high branches, miniscule bats lined up on a dead log asleep, lazy sloths and crimson poison dart frogs. A wonderful way to end an extremely experience-rich week.
Thank you team 1 for all your very hard work, day and night, for your diligence, your enthusiasm and all your wonderful feedback. During this expedition, we witnessed 24 false crawls, (this is when a turtle emerges from the sea, but does not dig a nest or lay any eggs), took 10 clutches of leatherback eggs to the hatchery for their protection, (a total of 760 eggs) and released 90 hatchlings into the sea. This is an excellent achievement. Unfortunately the poachers took a further 13 clutches of eggs despite our relentless patrolling, which brings the reality of the situation home. This is an area where only hands-on conservation work can make a difference – thank you for all your efforts, and we look forward to welcoming the second team in a few days time to continue what you have started.