Asaltan nidos de tortugas marinas (inglés)

wildlife

Poachers looting sea turtle nests

Eggs are being taken from beaches and then sold, prompting calls for police action.

ALCIBIADES CORTES/LA PRENSA

hatched:Sea turtles begin their first trek to the ocean. There have been recent reports of poachers raiding nests to steal turtle eggs.951747

The members of the Ecological Foundation of Tonosí are asking for help from police in protecting nests of endangered sea turtles from poachers.

The group is monitoring nests on beaches in the Los Santos area and reports that poachers have been stealing the eggs to sell them.

Alcibiades Franco, a member of the foundation, said that since turtles started coming to beaches in the area last Friday poachers have been raiding the nests. There have also been reports of vultures and coyotes eating eggs undiscovered by the poachers. Turtles crawl on to the beach at night and dig a nest several feet into the sand to lay their eggs.

According to Franco, the group is asking police to help them monitor the beaches to ensure that the nests are not disturbed anymore. Poachers have been taking advantage of a lack of security to steal the eggs.

For his part, Domingo Espino, director of the La Autoridad Marítima de Panama (AMP) in Los Santos, reported that staff there are indeed patrolling the beaches with police officers to prevent poaching.

The turtle spawning is one of the top tourist attractions in the coastal district of Tonosí, as people come to watch the nests being built, as well as the hatchlings as they make their way to the ocean.

Species that lay eggs in Panama include the giant Leatherback and the Black Sea Turtle. Both of these species are considered endangered.

The areas of the region where turtles nest this time of year are the Cañas Island and the coastal areas of La Marinera, Cambutal and Guanico, in the southwestern tip of Azuero.

Panama was one of three countries, along with Costa Rica and Nicaragua, that signed an agreement in 1998 to protect sea turtles and their nesting habitats.

The agreement recognized that sea turtles have been impacted by coastal development, and that the governments need to take measures to ensure their continue survival.

The agreement covers the protection of nesting areas, as well as prohibiting certain commercial activities relating to the animals.

Sea turtles nest on both the Pacific and Caribbean sides of the country.

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