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If you’ve ever wanted to experience the exhilarating rush of rescuing baby sea turtles, you are able to do that on the island of Cozumel in Mexico. Groups such as Cozumel Turtles are working on the east side of the island to monitor the nests and prepare for rescuing and releasing any babies that didn’t make it out on their own. The nests are marked along the beach with information on when the eggs were laid and when the turtles hatched.
There are three types of sea turtles that lay their eggs in Cozumel which are green, loggerhead, and hawksbill turtles. In the video above, all of the turtles rescued are green sea turtles. Each year, females return to the same beach that they were born on and lay upwards of 200 eggs over 1 meter (3 feet) deep in the sand. They will then cover them back up to try and protect them from predation and make their way back out to sea.
After 50 days, the eggs begin to hatch and the majority of the baby turtles climb out of the sand and make their way to the ocean on their own. It will take upwards of 3 days for the turtles to make it out of the sand once they have hatched. However, many do not make it out of the sand and need a little assistance. This is where volunteers and workers come in.
You start by digging a small circle and start digging straight down. If you find any babies, you’ll want to make sure to put a little sand in your bucket and gently place the turtles into the bucket. They will be wiggling around pretty frantically so make sure they don’t end up dropping back into the hole you just dug. Keep digging deeper and deeper until you get down to the egg layer, rescuing any other babies that you find. When you reach the bottom, you’ll pull out all of the eggs so that they can be counted and the health of the nest can be determined.
When you find a nest with a lot of babies, it can actually be a sign of an unhealthy nest. Ideally you want them to all get out on their own. This can mean that the nest was potentially attacked by some sort of predator. A good nest, you won’t find a single live turtle and only find hatched eggs.
The final step is you get to release any of the babies that you find. This is the moment you’ve been waiting for as you watch them make their way instinctively towards the ocean. It is definitely something you’ll remember for the rest of your life so take it all in!