Playa Tortuguera Cahuitán

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Playa Tortuguera Cahuitán

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    65 ha
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    16°16'N 98°28'W
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Playa Tortuguera Cahuitán. 02/02/04; Oaxaca. 65 ha; 16°17'N 098°29'W. An important nesting beach for three species of endangered marine turtles in the Pacific Ocean: Leatherback Dermochelys coriacea, nesting from October to March; Olive Ridley Turtle Lepidochelys olivacea, nesting year-round; and the Green Turtle Chelonia mydas, nesting from October to January. The beach is a highly dynamic system with large tidal surges, which can form sand walls of up to 2 metres high. Adjacent areas have been severely deforested, but extensions of Red Mangrove Rhizophora mangle, Enterolobiun cyclocarpum and Roseodendron donellsmithi remain, used locally for house building and woodwork. Leatherback turtles have been intensely surveyed since 1996, protecting nestlings and releasing newborns to the sea. However, there is an alarming diminishing trend of nestlings, attributed to nest looting by locals and the accidental capture of females by fishing lines in South America. Artificial illumination, waste disposal and the prospects of tourism development are also reported as threats for the turtles. There are future plans for designating this beach as a Wildlife Sanctuary. Ramsar site no. 1347. Most recent RIS information: 2004.

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