When we launched RED Travel 9 years ago, sea turtles were very much a part of our essence. Sea turtle conservation was behind our first efforts to use travel as a platform for species and habitat conservation and for creating sustainable employment.
Fast forward to 2019. To this day, sea turtle monitoring remains a core part of the experience at our seasonal gray whale camp in Magdalena Bay. On March 21st of this year, RED travelers and the Grupo Tortuguero team performed the last sea turtle monitoring of the season at our gray whale camp. No one could have expected what would happen that night in the protected waters of Magdalena Bay. During one of the trips out to check the monitoring net, a black sea turtle appeared. Back at camp, the team noticed the turtle sported flipper tags – a recapture! Recaptures are exciting because they allow researchers to build on the data history, and trace the movement, growth health and survivability. Upon reviewing these flipper tags though, the monitoring team noticed that the tags didn’t belong to Grupo Tortuguero – they were from Costa Rica.
Sea turtle conservation from Costa Rica to Mexico /www.cremacr.org
After some late night phone calls and text messages, we learned that this turtle was first tagged on a nesting beach in Playa Jobo, in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica in 2017. The tags belonged to CREMA – the Center for Rescue of Threatened Marine Species, a Costa Rican organization that works mainly with turtles and sharks. They were ecstatic to learn that this turtle had been recaptured in Mexico, roughly 2,000 miles northwest as the crow flies (or a 64 hour drive according to google maps). We asked Agnese Mancini, the Scientific Coordinator for Grupo Tortuguero de las Californias what she thought of this recapture. “This event is important in that it demonstrates how sea turtles unite us across the globe through our work. While the link between black sea turtles in Costa Rica and Mexico is known, it is different when a fisherman or community member discovers this for themself. It demonstrates how important their sea turtle conservation work is, not just in their local community, but at a global level. And it shows that we can’t just protect one area, that this is a global challenge.”
Book a trip with RED Travel in our gray whale and sea turtle ecocamp and be part of the conservation story. There will be fun.