About this iReport
  • Approved for CNN

  • Click to view SherpaKeith's profile
    Posted February 8, 2013 by
    Barra de Santiago, Ahuachapan, El Salvador
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Travel photo of the day

    More from SherpaKeith

    Releasing Baby Sea Turtles In El Salvador


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     SherpaKeith's image was featured as CNN's Travel Photo of the Day for June 17, 2013.
    - rachel8, CNN iReport producer

    Sea turtles are some of the most elegant creatures in the world. Unfortunately all seven species of them are on the endangered or critically endangered list due to human activities. One of the wonderful programs going on to try to combat this sad problem is sponsored by EcoExperiencias, a division of Salvadorean Tours, and La Cocotera Resort & Ecolodge, both in El Salvador.

    In El Salvador, like in many other third world countries with sea turtle populations, many of the locals collect the eggs from beaches where the eggs are laid by the females, and sell them for money. They do this out of lack of education and out of necessity - they need the money to feed their families.

    But EcoExperiencias and La Cocotera fully realize that a more sustainable environment is in the best interests of the locals as well as for the much needed and wanted tourism industry. Fewer turtles is not only bad for the environment, it’s also bad for business. So profits from their tourism-based organizations help fund projects like this sea turtle program. Instead of the locals getting $5 for a dozen sea turtle eggs, they get paid $6-7 per hatched sea turtle. This program is great for all parties involved, including of course the turtles.

    My girlfriend and I were lucky enough to be staying at La Cocotera during the three-month period time of the year when the baby turtles were being released. We each gently grabbed two babies each and set them 2-3 meters from the edge of the water. Amazingly the female turtles memorize where they are just before heading into the ocean waves, and if they are lucky enough to survive (only about one in a thousand do!) they come back to that very same place a decade later to lay their own eggs.

    Releasing those little turtles was one of the most wholesome, warm-hearted experiences I’ve ever had. Despite the horrific odds you just want to believe your little guys are going to somehow make it. And at the very least, terrific programs like this will greatly improve the odds of the species’ survival. Well done EcoExperiencias and La Cocotera.
    Add your Story Add your Story