Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Community Involvement

Around 4:40 Victor, Kayla, Ingrid and I carried the 2 buckets full of baby turtles out to the beach. We looked around and saw a couple guys from the construction site next door walking towards us. But other than that the beach was empty. I took a quick peak a my watch and see we are 10 minutes late and none of the children or town's people had come to see the babies. Feeling a little disappointed with the turnout, I explain to the construction workers that these turtles were in nests that had hatched the night before, but couldn't crawl out of the hole by themselves. I then handed each  guy a glove and told them that the babies needed to be placed about 5 meters from the water's edge so the could walk.

As the men are placing each baby on the sand, I see all the children running towards us and their parents right behind them. The kids quickly jump into the fun and each put a glove on and help release the babies. As I watched the babies make their way to the ocean, the locals watched with big smiles on their faces and a bit of pride in their eyes. I went around and answered questions and explained sea turtle biology to the observers. I was surprised to hear one of the local men, probably in his 40's tell me this was the first time he had ever seen a baby turtle. Seeing the pride in the locals, my faith was restored and I hoped it would be less likely that we would be seeing them on the beach.

Another day with the locals

Kayla teaching Caristine about the babies

Since the first night, I am pleased to report that the locals and tourists come every night at 5 PM to see the baby turtles. Hopefully, raising awareness to a whole new generation.