Working with wild turtles in Mexico

This weeks wildlife Wednesday comes from Crystal. Here’s what she has to say;

I’m Crystal, passionate baby goat cuddler and part-time adventurer, I can often be found doing headstands on the edges of cliffs, taking photos of abandoned buildings or sleeping on deserted islands with dangerous criminals. Now I just write, create, travel, repeat on ‘Castaway with Crystal’ I help YOU become a fearless traveller who grabs life by the big ol’ balls! Get excited about adventure, budget and eco-travel + dig my sweet photos & videos.

We caught up with Crystal about her time working with wild turtles in Mexico conservation beaches as well as swimming with them in the wild.

We’ve spoken briefly about your animal encounters while on the road, which have been your favourite to see in their natural environment and why?

Seeing loads of turtles in Mexico! Turtles are my favourite and I had never seen a sea turtle before coming to Mexico. I also let baby turtles hatched in a sanctuary go. It was the most amazing experience ever! They charge us about $5 which goes back into helping the sea turtles. They also gave us half a coconut to hold them with so we didn’t actually touch the turtle (it’s bad for their shell to be touched). It was a really ethical experience. Turtles in the wild have about a 1-2% chance at surviving. However, babies hatched in sanctuaries have more like a 20% survival rate. That’s HUGE! The work that Mexico has done to help sea turtles has even taken a few of the species OFF of the endangered list!

Did you experience this encounter with a tour? What made you choose that particular company?

I have seen them so many times in Mexico now. The first was just off Akumal Beach near Playa del Carmen eating the seagrass there, then I saw a few while diving. I even let baby sea turtles go! That was run by the turtle sanctuaries. And just the other day I went on a dolphin watching tour and was able to see Olive Ridley Turtles mating!

Had you seen them before in a zoo/sanctuary? How did it compare?

I hadn’t seen them before!
Working with wild turtles in mexico lets you see the whole mating cycle

Animal tourism has become a big thing over the years. Have you had any experiences that looking back on, you feel weren’t very ethical, you perhaps wouldn’t do again or any that you wouldn’t recommend to other, what was it and why?

I rode an elephant. I wish I could apologise to it. It felt weird at the time and now that I have had years to think about it, I feel deeply ashamed. I should have never done it.

What advice would you give other travellers looking at working with wild turtles in Mexico?

All you need to do is go to Mexico in the right seasons. I wrote a whole post on Turtle nesting and hatching season in Mexico! If you’re there, you’ll see these types of amazing phenomenon happening everywhere!
an image of a baby turtle just hatched from it shell. You could see these too while working with wild turtles in mexico

Do you have any advice on being an ethical traveller?

Take 3 for the sea and always refuse plastic where possible!
Ask yourself: “Is this animal suffering for my benefit?” If it is, don’t do it.

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