It is easy to read and philosophize about different people and places, but until you are there, you can’t really understand. Before our trip, I doubt we expected to become so well connected. Our team members come from all different part of campus life. I believe most of us didn’t even know each other before. But the trip gave us a chance to meet people we may not otherwise ordinarily even see. Days spent painting the community center lead us to interesting conversation and friendships.
Towards issue of turtle conservation in Ostional, I was caught off guard. I still have difficulty discerning what was truly the right thing to do. What is unique about this community, is that they are the only such community with legal rights to harvest the eggs. I understand the protections of tradition, but this tradition is also very recent. In fact, turtles never came in large numbers until the late fifties. That’s less than a lifetime ago. Surrounding why there are suddenly so many turtles there, no one either knows or really explained. It is essentially impossible that a new population of turtles at sexual maturity could have just appeared. Global numbers have been dropping for a long time now. Perhaps they could have been displaced by beach development, or their sense of direction disoriented by some human cause but we don’t know. Regardless large numbers of turtles now call this beach their nesting ground. The people harvest eggs for three days during the height of a large arrival. They claim it is 1% of the total eggs laid, but I’m doubtful of this number as we couldn’t replicate this calculation.
We were there not for the harvesting but for the conservation work. At night we helped do beach patrols to ward off poachers and we were able to see some of the hatchery work they do. It was obvious the town wants to keep the resource sustainable but this is such a new event for this beach, how do we know what sustainable is? How do we know how many should be arriving? According to all human record they shouldn’t even be there. How can we figure out where they may have came from?