A Big Turtle Comeback
It is late afternoon on La Escobilla (es-ko-bee-yah) Beach, in Mexico. Waves crash on the sand. Female sea turtles begin to crawl out of the water. Soon, the beach is filled with thousands of them. Each one digs a nest in the sand and settles down to lay its eggs. Then it covers the eggs and waddles back into the ocean.
Every year from June to December, sea turtles called olive ridleys return to this beach in Oaxaca (wah-hah-kah), Mexico. Most sea turtle groups are shrinking. But thanks to a new program, the number of olive ridleys that lay eggs in Oaxaca has grown in the last few years.
There are seven species, or kinds, of sea turtles. They are all endangered. Some have been hurt by pollution. Others have gotten caught in fishing nets. Many of them have been killed by hunters.
In 1990, Mexico passed a law to stop the hunting. Soldiers now patrol some beaches to protect sea turtles and their eggs. Wildlife officials are teaching fishermen and kids how to help save turtles.
Scientists hope to hatch similar success stories around the world. Wallace J. Nichols is a biologist who studies sea turtles off the coast of Mexico. "The success at La Escobilla inspires people working at other projects," he told TFK.