Each year, Olive Ridley turtles return to Mexico’s coast to lay eggs. Each year, however, poachers rob the nests of these endangered animals. This year, authorities in Mexico have taken a novel approach to protecting the turtles’ eggs: They will deploy drones on the beaches of Oaxaca.
As reported by the International Business Times, the Mexican environmental body Profepa will deploy two drones to survey the beaches of Escobilla and Ayuta Morro, with the intention of eradicating poaching. Mexico has seen a surge in egg poaching this year, particularly at Morro beach; environmentalists estimate that poachers take 80 percent of the beach’s eggs after coast guards take their nightly leave.
Hefty jail sentences and a ban on the sale of turtle meat and eggs in the country have not deterred poachers, who at times unabashedly steal hundreds of thousands of eggs in broad daylight. For this reason, the drones will protect 2,000 of 33,884 turtle nests registered by Profepa, according to The Yucatan Times.
Poachers take turtle eggs for the purposes of making money; a sack of 2,000 turtle eggs fetches between 600 and 1,000 pesos. The industry is partially driven by the superstition that turtle eggs can act as an aphrodisiac, according to Fauna & Flora International.
With two drones in the air above Escobilla and Ayuta Morro beaches, more poachers will be caught in the act, and hopefully even more will be deterred from committing the crime in the first place. As part of a larger environmental movement, the drones will help to conserve this vulnerable turtle species.Whizzco