Mexico evacuates sea turtle eggs from beaches as Hurricane Beryl heads toward the Yucatan Peninsula

CANCUN, Mexico (AP) — Mexico’s government, plagued by past hurricane preparedness failures, began evacuating even sea turtle eggs from the coast Wednesday ahead of the hurricane. Hurricane Beryl.

Beryl is still far off the coast of Jamaica in the Caribbean but is expected to make landfall somewhere south of Cancun by late Thursday or early Friday.

Considering Mexico offered little warning or evacuation to residents of the Pacific coast resort city of Acapulco, During Hurricane Otis in OctoberThis time, authorities are being extra cautious, digging up newborn sea turtle eggs because they risk being washed away by high tides.

Government workers had placed the river turtle eggs in dozens of coolers, covered them with sand and transported them to a safer location.

In other areas, sandbag barriers have been used to create safety “enclosures” to protect turtle nests from expected strong waves.

Biologist Graciela Tiburcio, one of Mexico’s leading sea turtle experts, said it was an extreme measure and could lead to an increase in failure of sea turtle eggs to hatch.

“Look, this is not the best solution, but we have an emergency situation and if they don’t remove them, they could all be lost,” said Tiburcio, who is not involved in the effort.

In and around Cancun, several species of sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs on the beaches, and after a few weeks the hatched turtles dive into the sea. Normally, the beaches are kept at the perfect temperature for the turtles to hatch, so it is said that the nests should not be disturbed.

It is also believed that sea turtles rely on natural lighting on the coast to orient themselves, and often return to the same locations as adults.

However, Beryl’s waves and high tides wash them out to sea, where they are unable to hatch.

“Under normal circumstances, this is not true because it would definitely result in mortality,” Tiburcio said. “You’d have a lower hatch rate for the eggs, that’s the reality. But it’s also the reality that if you leave the nest alone, you’re going to lose everything.”

Cancun’s environment department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on where the eggs had been taken for storage, but said in a social media post that more than 10,000 eggs had been excavated from about 93 nests.

Carey turtles, like other sea turtles, It is a protected species in Mexico. Harvesting the eggs, once widely eaten, is now prohibited.

It’s not just the turtles: Further south on the Caribbean coast, in the fishing village of Punta Allen, soldiers, police and marines were pressuring the 700 residents to evacuate their homes entirely.

Punta Allen sits on a narrow sandbar south of the resort of Tulum.

One Punta Allen resident, who asked not to be named, said many residents – about half the population – were resisting calls to evacuate.

“They’re asking everyone to leave Punta Allen, but people don’t want to leave,” she said. “They don’t have the money and they don’t want to leave their possessions.”

The woman also said that while the government is providing free transportation during evacuations, it is not providing transportation home after the hurricane has passed.

In Mexico, many people have long distrusted government disaster response efforts, with authorities often failing to enforce zoning and safety rules and doing little before storms.

Acapulco is still struggling to recover after being hit by Category 5 Hurricane Otis in October, which killed at least 52 people and destroyed or damaged most of the city’s hotels.

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