Indigenous Seri people release record number of sea turtles in Mexico

Whether it be hawksbill sea turtles in Brazil and the Philippines, or leatherback turtles on the beaches of Florida and Thailand, sea turtle populations around the world have been thriving during the coronavirus pandemic as humans stay away from the beach.

Today, we’re glad to report another species of turtle that is experiencing a record-breaking year: The olive ridley sea turtle. As reported by the BBC, the indigenous Seri community in the Sonora state of Mexico said it released more than 2,250 baby olive ridley sea turtles into the Gulf of California.

For this particular species of turtle, which faces a high risk of extinction, that’s a huge number. Typically the community releases only 500 to 1,000 of these small creatures every year.

While this is great news for olive ridley sea turtles and conservationists alike, the actual act of bringing thousands of these green, heart-shelled sea turtles to their ocean home was healing for the local Seri people.

“This year has been one of the hardest for our community,” said Mayra Estrella Astorga, coordinator of the conservation group Tortugueros del Desemboque. “The pandemic brought sickness and death to our people and complicated the economic situation here. That’s why we are so happy that, in the middle of this tragedy, this miracle of nature happened — as a result of fewer fishing boats and tourists, but also through the efforts of the community.”

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