WILDCOAST – A voice for the coast and the ocean

Get to know your neighbor: Olive Ridley Sea Turtle

Sea Turtles

Introduction

Hi! My name is the olive ridley sea turtle, also known as the Lepidochelys olivacea in scientific terms. Us olive ridley sea turtles are found in warm waters within the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans. One of our favorite nesting sites is a beach WILDCOAST helps protect called Morro Ayuta in Huatulco, Oaxaca, Mexico! We may be the smallest variety of sea turtle, but we still can weigh up to 110 pounds and can live to over 50 years! We are omnivorous and love to eat fish, crabs and shrimp! We migrate thousands of miles in our lifetimes, but always nest at the same beach where we were born in a synchronized event called an “arribada”, Spanish for “arrival”. Our journey is long and we face many obstacles along the way like marine debris and poaching, but we are getting help along the way. WILDCOAST provides trainings and workshops for park rangers, tourism outfitters and local communities that surround olive ridley nesting sites. The trainings and workshops focus on protecting nesting beaches through federal zone concessions and working to establish new protected areas that are critical to sea turtles’ survival.

Why should you care?

Although we have few natural predators, our population size is currently decreasing and our status is vulnerable, which means were likely to become endangered if organizations like WILDCOAST and people like you don’t do anything to help. Although there are many laws already in place for our survival, poaching of eggs and female turtles still occurs despite the positive economic impact our nesting has on tourism. Another threat we face comes from fishing nets and other debris found in the ocean, which we can get caught and tangled in. We also often get disoriented by artificial light and beach furniture become obstacles to our nesting.

WILDCOAST works along with the personnel that manage and safeguard our nesting beaches to better insure the hatching of our young. By establishing more protected areas, the odds of our survival increases by negating human interruption and obstacles in our nesting ritual. We would love for you to see us in action but try not to disrupt!

How you can help?

How can you help us get our hatchlings safely into the ocean? You can limit your use of single-use plastics so they do not potentially end up in the sea and switch to reusable alternatives. We love a good party, but we don’t love the use of balloons that are released and can potentially end up in our watery environment. You can help limit improperly disposed of trash by participating in beach cleanups; and anglers, never discard or abandon your fishing gear. With the practice of these helpful tips, we can live harmoniously!

WILDCOAST often has many volunteering opportunities listed on their volunteer page and also keep an eye on their events page for upcoming beach cleanups and other activities that need participants. If you don’t have any time to spare, consider donating to WILDCOAST here.

You have an opportunity to meet us!

WILDCOAST has an office in Huatulco, Mexico, where our team members Gaby and Luis work to protect the sea turtles at Morro Ayuta and the coral reefs in the Huatulco National Park. Come release baby sea turtles and possibly even see our nesting in action during the arribada, our synchronized nesting on Playa Morro Ayuta. Enjoy the surrounding Huatulco National Park by boat, snorkeling pristine coral reefs and get to raft through the lush tropical forest along Rio Copalita! While you are there, you will dine on local sustainable food, our favorite! It’s an experience you don’t want to miss, see you there! For more information click here.