CEA Notes: May 2021

Nesting Momma Turtles are Back!  Just in time for Mother’s Day!

The nesting season has begun…with a record breaking early, first attempt on April 9, 2021! The first nesting attempt was spotted by a past Volunteer-VT, Dave Loper.  On April 19th, biologist José Luis Miranda, a seasoned Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Center /C.E.A. Tortuguero and Adviser, reported 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐢𝐫𝐬𝐭 𝐥𝐨𝐠𝐠𝐞𝐫𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐭𝐥𝐞 𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟏! To date we have TWO loggerhead nests, both on Akumal Bay.

Biologist José Luis Miranda (left) and Hidrobiol. Claudia Leon (right), coordinator of CEA’s marine turtle conservation and protection program beside the first nest.


This first nest of the season was adopted by Mark Johnson, who participated in CEA’s Christmas Sea Turtle Adoption Campaign.

Akumal will typically have nests of two different species of sea turtles: loggerheads (Caretta caretta) and green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas).  Both species belong to the family Cheloniidae and are endangered and declining in population.

MOTHER’S DAY is May 10 in Mexico and May 9 in the USA.  Adopting a sea turtle or nest is the perfect gift!!!

Wondering what to give your mother?  We have an idea for a gift that will not end up unused in the back of her closet:  Adopt a baby turtle, name a mother turtle, or adopt a nest (an entire family)!

The annual Mother’s Day drive raises funds specifically for the Sea Turtle Camp. Please visit ceakumal.org to join the campaign or email [email protected]   Stop in the office on the main plaza- Angelica Pech Constantino, CEA Communications and Volunteer Coordinator, will be happy to give you information and/or help you get involved.  You can volunteer/donate/learn about the work happening throughout the April-October season.

The annual Mother’s Day drive raises funds specifically for the Sea Turtle Camp. Please visit ceakumal.org to join the campaign or email [email protected]   Stop in the office on the main plaza- Angelica Pech Constantino -CEA Communications and Volunteer Coordinator would be happy to give you information and or help you get involved.  You can volunteer/donate/learn about the work happening throughout the April-October season.

A Message from CEA’s Turtle Camp Coordinator. New season, new and positive changes at Centro Ecológico Akumal (CEA). As the new coordinator of the turtle camp, Hydrobiol, Claudia Leon leaves the following message:

“Welcome, everyone! I am so excited that this season has started. I am very appreciative to have the opportunity to be the coordinator of this incredible project. I am learning something new every day and I am incredibly grateful to the team we have. We are working hard to have a successful, plastic-free season. In the past few days, I have provided training and preparation for the Guardians. I want the community to be integrated so that they know us and support this project, each person CAN make a difference”.

A Message from CEA’s Guardians of Akumal’s Turtles:

This season the Leader of the Voluntourist program, Rozanne Quintero, is introducing a new name for the team. The program was started in 2016 and has come a long way.  We are much more than just Volunteers who live in Akumal.  The new name is Guardians of Akumal’s Turtles.  This name better describes the dedicated group of volunteers that literally ran and survived the 2020 season due to the pandemic and have returned each year to work for many, just like the mommas.   Their love and care for protecting and conserving the sea turtles here in Akumal is deep.  They work hard, but their rewards are endless.

Guardian means ‘One that guards, watches over or protects’. This team does it all.  From sunrise to moonset, the Guardians are there helping.  We hope you will, too!!  Please see the CEA website if you would like to learn how you can become a Guardian.

New Coordinator, Claudia, holds beach practice class for returning Veteran Guardians. These attendees hold the coveted GREEN badge as the leaders and most experienced team members.


Preparing the beaches for the mommas is an ongoing task. The Guardians participated in Beach Cleanup with internationally known Pangea in collaboration with the Monkey Sanctuary Foundation and CEA. The leader Bernardo (picture on the right) is helping many make a difference.

How you can help make Akumal’s beaches turtle friendly — we’ll show you how!

Sheree Gibson, a Supervisor for CEA’s Sea Turtle Conservation program on Half Moon Bay explained:
“Every year at the beginning of the turtle nesting season, CEA emails the Turtle Checklist to home and condo owners and property managers.  It is important that we get this into the hands of those using the beach.

Momma turtles do not like light or noise.  This can cause the turtles to abort their nest attempt.   You may see one of the volunteer Guardians crouched down around a sea turtle in the dark or walking with red headlamps, trying to assist the nester.  We ask for EVERYONE to help by switching off outside lights.  Switching to red lightbulbs, is another option. (CEA does have a limited number of those available thanks to a generous donation.)  We also ask that residents and guests please close their drapes/blinds in the evening during the season.  This will help the mother turtles during nesting AND the hatchlings.  Lights become life-threatening when the babies try to go to sea     hatchlings will mistake a white porchlight for the moon shining on the sea and run toward it.  Every year thousands of hatchlings are lost and die due to lights.

Another area of great danger for the nesting sea turtles is pools.  Last year seven momma turtles fell into pools!  When this occurs, the turtle will swim laps for hours with eyes burning from the chemicals, frantically looking for a means of escape.   We have a Turtle Rescue Team to remove her, but injury can occur before she is safely removed and sent back to sea.  We were able to rescue all last year, but in past seasons fatalities have occurred.  If properties with pools could please fence around their pools.   This can be done with some beach chairs on the sides or large kayaks or paddle boards.   Also, be conscious of lighting the pool area: change to red lights or turn off lights at duskPlease take all beach furniture off the beach so the turtles do not get stuck in the furniture.”

The last and particularly important message is the Turtle Checklist.

This will give you specifics on how you can help the mommas have a successful nesting season.  There are some hard copies of the list or you can download it below.  CEA is licensed under Federal NOM 162 which helps ensure we keep the Momma’s safe while on the beaches and ultimately help their existence continue through future generations. You can do your part by keeping your distance from turtles (10 m.).  We will be working to protect both mommas and hatchlings, as well as tag, document and record information on the turtles and nests.  If you want more information on Sea Turtles, please contact us at [email protected], visit us on our website (ceakumal.org), or in person on the plaza.        ↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓   ↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓

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