Machine Guns and Conservation – By Tommy Cutt

Our C.O.O., David McClymont, just checked in from his surf trip to Nicaragua with a cool sea turtle protection story.

While traveling to a remote, offshore surf break, David and friends were stopped by a small boat of four Nicaraguan “police” carrying sub-machine guns.  Traveling internationally in a developing country can be very unpredictable. The thoughts of “being killed, taken for ransom, or extorted” were crossing through their minds. They soon found out they were not permitted to travel by boat through this area due to sea turtle mating season. David said there were hundreds (if not thousands) of Olive Ridley sea turtles in the water!

Five species of sea turtles nest in Nicaragua, including the Olive Ridley. The Olive Ridley is the most common nesting turtle on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua. Olive Ridley’s lay their eggs during a mass nesting behavior known as Arribada.  During Arribada (an event that occurs a few times each year), Olive Ridley’s arrive at the beach (thousands at a time) to nest. Nesting in this manner increases chance of survival for the species; simply, the turtles lay more eggs than predator’s are capable of eating. The beaches on Nicaragua’s Pacific coast where Arribada takes place have been declared Wildlife Refuges, and are protected.

David and his friends were relieved and excited to find out that the men (armed with machine guns) were there to protect the sea turtles! They immediately turned around and traveled back the thirty minutes, at idle, to their home surf break.

It’s always exciting to hear about other people/organizations worldwide who share a mission similar to ours at the LMC.

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