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left arrowPrevious Newsletter No. 34, July 19, 2002 Nextright arrow

Hola Volunteers, Supporter and Friends --

So far the weather this summer has followed the course of last year, dry, and as a result only twenty turtles have ventured up the beach to nest, well below the norm of 30 to 35 historically recorded for this time of year. On the evenings of June 7th, 11th and 16th we received our only significant rainfall. The dry weather had been a particular problem for nesting turtles as they tried to dig their nest holes and found themselves at the top of an hourglass as the dry sand from the surface drifted back into the nest hole. It has also been a problem for our dune buggy, making it difficult to maneuver sharp turns or ascend steep banks.

As predicted, without the presence of our two prime poachers "Soy Oso" and "Yue-Yue," the others have decided to stay off the beaches for now. Although since we started patrolling on June 15th, we have lost two nests to Maximino Cardenas, the uncle of Soy Oso. Maximino is a particular problem because he walks the beach at sunup to keep from being detected among the hotel guests and others from town on the beach at that time.

The cost of maintaining the dune buggy this season has dropped to an all-time low or by 50%. The lower cost is a result of winter preventive maintenance and design changes. Other savings come as a surprise. Except for the San Francisco beach, there has not been a single nest found on the other five beaches. Until we learn of nests on the other five, and/or the poachers decide to hit the beaches again, we will be content with patrolling only San Francisco four times a night. This has cut our travel distance by 19 miles per night and gasoline consumption by 66%.

The cost of maintaining the nursery has been cut by 25% due to a donation by Dianne and Joe Forthman, who gave the Group two large rolls of black plastic sheeting which we used to cover the nursery, and Jim and Linda Sorter who donated ten nest thermometers.

At the present time we have six volunteers, Fabiola Mora, Mexico - Nick Sander, UK - Dianne Forthman and daughters Sanda and Kelsey, USA - and Marie Darnaudery, France. Mary Jane Schumacher and daughter Morgan English and Claudia Kroberger have returned home.

Too often when young animals are separated from their parents the task of reuniting them is difficult, if not impossible. While enjoying the cool outside breeze and late night lightning display, I noticed a small chick running across the porch. Not wanting the crabs to find it, and with the help of several volunteers we ran after it, and soon discovered not one, but nine beautifully marked wild ducklings. That night we placed them in a basket out in the open, and by early morning the parents were flying above, attracted by the high pitched chirping of their young. That morning Fabiola carried the basket, with parents following above, into a large field, let the young go, and the family was quickly united.

Despite poor T-shirt sales, as a result of a one-year slump in tourism throughout Mexico, we were able to raise enough funds for another season. We are very grateful for the help we have received from the local homeowners of San Francisco, the Costa Azul Hotel and many others generous donors. We would like to thank everyone for their contributions to our efforts.

Frank D. Smith
Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde, A.C.

Top left, Dianne, Nick and Mary
Center, Morgan
Bottom left, Kelsey, Fabiola & Sanda

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