Written by Antonina Selezneva, Sanctuary Assistant at La Tortuga Viva – Sea Turtle Sanctuary Playa Icacos, Mexico
At La Tortuga Viva, no two days are the same, but a Monday in August 2022 was extra special. We got an exciting opportunity to break from our daily routine and travel to the nearby town of Puerto Vicente for a full-day training course for sea turtle camps across the state of Guerrero!
Dream Day for the Turtle Team
The eight of us from La Tortuga Viva who could make it that day set out in the early morning, leaving Juluchuca at 7 a.m. One of the local volunteers, Mario, kindly gave us all a ride.
Upon arrival, we found ourselves on the grounds of CETMAR 27 (sea technology center #27), which was located on a gorgeous piece of land right on the beach. The college even had its own sea turtle camp! Right away we registered and received our name tags. We arrived quite early, so we waited for everyone else to get there while sipping on our coffee and enjoying the beautiful views. One of my personal favorite parts of events like these is getting a chance to spend time with your team members outside of work, which is a great opportunity to get to know each other better and is always fun!
In addition to allowing us to spend quality time as a team, these events are ideal for getting to know other people in your field and those working in different fields but still dedicated to the same cause, which in our case is sea turtle conservation. By talking to the organizers and volunteers helping in the event, we found out that they were expecting almost 100 participants, which included students, representatives of governmental bodies and the tourism sector, plus fellow tortugueros and volunteers from other sea turtle camps. This gave us a great opportunity to network, create connections, and find people to join forces with so we can increase our efforts and achieve greater things together.
Once the majority of participants arrived, we all took our seats and were able to begin with the main objective of our trip – learning! The lectures varied from general sea turtle biology and conservation practices to talks by different governmental bodies that are, in one way or another, involved in the subject of sea turtle conservation.
It was very helpful to refresh a lot of the knowledge that we already had, as well as to learn many new things! For example, conservation work is complicated from the legal side. There are different types of permits that an organization needs, each with their own sets of requirements. There are also strict rules about how the work has to be implemented, and every activity, be it the transportation of eggs or hatchery construction, is tightly regulated.
Keep in mind that all of the sea turtle species are endangered, so there is a higher level of regulation and protection by Mexican law. Any manipulation of sea turtles (adults, hatchlings and eggs or their products and subproducts, such as meat, skin, bones or any objects made from them) without the appropriate permits being strictly prohibited and punished by fines, imprisonment and/or long hours of community work. So it was amazingly useful to learn the ins and outs of the legal sides of working with sea turtles straight from the governmental bodies responsible for their implementation. What made it even more interesting is that many participants had questions and comments, starting discussions on very important topics that were based on real life situations experienced by people working in the field.
Between and after the lectures, we got a chance to mix with all the participants and share our experiences and contact information. So many amazing places and sea turtle camps to visit!
Looking Forward to What’s Next for La Tortuga Viva
In the end, after a long day of learning, meeting people, and overall having a lovely time, we left tired but with hearts full of inspiration and love for the work that we do and the amazing community we are a part of.
We all share the same passion and determination to help save the beautiful animals that are sea turtles!