SOS: Traveler in Danger

SOS: Traveler in Danger

  • This season the sea turtle must overcome an additional obstacle in order to survive, sargassum on its nesting beaches.
  • Sunset World actively participates in safeguarding sea turtle nests and releasing baby turtles, always following SEMARNAT guidelines.
  • Your actions can help sea turtles. Be a responsible tourist.

Cancún, Quintana Roo – Mexico is home for marine turtles. Of the seven species that exist in the world, six nest on Mexico’s coasts, four of them in the Mexican Caribbean. However, for decades this treasured marine animal has faced the contamination of their habitat and the looting of their nests, which has caused them to be in danger of extinction.

To counteract the damage, the National Program of Inspection and Surveillance for the Protection of Sea Turtles was implemented in Mexico, coordinated by the Federal Procurator for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA), in colaboration with the Secretariat of the Navy, Armada de México (SEMAR), the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) and the Federal Police (PF). Volunteers and companies such as Grupo Sunset World, who understand the urgency of preserving the country’s natural riches, are supporting this great effort.

The sea turtle has existed for more than one hundred million years. They shared the Earth with dinosaurs and witnessed their extinction. During their life cycle, when they are about to reproduce, they travel thousands of kilometers to the coast where they were born to lay their eggs.

Each year during nesting season, which runs from May to November, Grupo Sunset World follows PROFEPA’s guidelines, and train staff who will be involved in the process in locating nests, constructing of pens, counting eggs and releasing offspring, as well as creating reports.

The Sunset Royal Beach Resort staff in Cancun is trained by the Municipal Ecology Department of Cancun for safe handling of female turtles, eggs and nests, as well as pens, which are installed according to the guidelines established by the Directorate of Municipal Ecology.

In addition, Grupo Sunset World, and in particular Sunset Royal Beach Resort, takes measures to encourage the arrival of sea turtles on the beach where it is located. For example, intense lights that can disorient the young on their way to the sea are turned off, all beach furniture is put away and the sand is flattened. These are small actions that should be taken by all businesses or residents located on the beach.

From 2010 to 2018, Sunset World has actively participated in the Marine Turtle Protection Program, protecting 84,565 eggs and releasing 71,939 turtle hatchlings, including White or Green (Chelonia mydas), Carey (Eretmochelys imbricata) and Caguama (Caretta caretta).

The Sunset Royal Beach Resort staff is also working hard to keep the beach free of sargassum. Although the macroalga does not directly affect the turtles, it can prevent them from laying their eggs on the beach and cause them to lay their eggs at sea, and offspring are lost. On the other hand, if the sargassum accumulates over a nest, it hinders hatching. In addition, collecting sargassum with machinery or a rake can hurt the eggs or the young. Finally, the presence of sargassum inhibits the growth of seagrasses that are part of turtles’ and other marine species’ diets.

We are all part of the problem … and the solution

When we travel, it is important to get involved and support local efforts. May to November is turtle nesting season in Cancun and the Riviera Maya, and each visitor can help sea turtles by doing these very simple things:

  • Always take a moment to deposit garbage it in its place.
  • Sometimes turtles float near the shore. Do not drive boats or jet skis near them.
  • If you camp on the beach, pay attention to where you are walking or pitching your tent so as not to disturb the turtles or their nests.
  • Make sure all lights from your room or cabana on the beach are turned off at night.
  • Do not drive vehicles on the beach during nesting season.
  • Make sure that all beach furniture is put away at sunset.
  • If or your children play in the sand, do not leave holes or mounds. Flatten the area afterwards.
  • Do not support bars that use lights on the beach at night.

Sometimes we are oblivious to the effects of global warming. The truth is that our decisions as consumers and tourists define our impact on the environment. We cannot ignore the damage caused in our favorite places to vacation just because we don’t live there. Do we use single use plastic at home? Do we recycle? Do we buy just because we like a product or do we consider its origin, material, and if we will really use it? Companies, governments and people all over the world are responsible for caring for the ocean. If we fill it with garbage, that’s what we’ll get in return.