TURTLE   RESERVATION   PROJECT    VISIT

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TURTLE  CONSERVATION PROJECT VISIT

Visit a Turtle Refuge close to the hotel. Wonderful visit for children and conservationists. The season for turtles is between March and November.

There is a donation given to the conservation effort. In this visit you will work together with the conservationists and get first hand experience of their daily life.

Set loose baby turtles, learn about the different species that come to Panama.

Help in the conservation effort. Collect eggs from mother turtles coming to lay eggs on the beach and placing them into protected nests. Help tag them.

The visit can be either at 4 am or 7 pm depending on the tides. You should wear dark clothes. If you have a head lamp it should have a red light fitted. if you don't have one, one will be provided for you. A donation of $10/person goes to help the effort. English is spoken. It is possible to camp at the reserve ($5 charge/person/night), phone us for more details.

One problem faced by turtles in the area is one of errant dogs. The proliferation of dogs and the fact that they are generally underfed, leads to them digging up the nests and eating the eggs. There is local effort to neuter dogs in the area to reduce the abundance of unwanted dogs.

Hotel El Sol Morrillo donates part of the booking fee to this activity run by Kathy Mcgouvern in Mata Oscura.

A Bit About Turtles:

Turtle eggs in the past have been harvested in excess for food and turtles have been killed for meat and their shell. No figure exists of the maximum size of turtle population in the past, so researching the current nesting turtles has been the first step in developing conservation plans.

Adult marine turtles, both male and female, often travel far from their feeding areas to mate and nest. Female turtles lay their eggs at night on sandy beaches accessible from deep water. The females haul themselves up the sand and lay their eggs well above high tide mark. The female digs a nest by scooping out a hole with her fins. She then covers the eggs with sand in an attempt to hide the nest. The eggs are hatched by the heat from the sun incubating them. The temperature of the nest dictates the sex of the baby turtles ( above 29C and they are female, less than 29C and they are male).

The baby turtles all hatch from any one nest nest at about the same time, they dig themselves up to the surface of the sand, then head down the beach to the sea. They are vulnerable to the sun, birds and crabs as they race down the beach. When they get to the water they make for deep water, where they have a greater chance of survival.

Hotel El Sol Morrillo wishes to thank, the Mata Oscura Turtle Project for the pictures and guidance given to our clients.