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October 8, 2007

From Sea turtle return to Rocky Point has hopes on the rise, in this morning's Arizona Daily Star

An endangered sea turtle, pushing the northern boundaries of her species' range, buried dozens of eggs on a Puerto Penasco beach, headed back out to sea, and left wildlife authorities in Mexico with a problem.

The Olive Ridley sea turtle, a rare visitor in the north end of the Sea of Cortez, is considered endangered in Mexico and threatened in some other areas.

And a clutch of eggs deposited by another Olive Ridley on a nearby Puerto Penasco beach last year failed to hatch, said Alejandro Castillo, a biologist at the Centro Intercultural de Estudios de Desiertos y Oceanos (the Intercultural Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans), better known as CEDO.

...

In this year's case, Castillo said, the manager of the beachfront Hotel Playa Bonita called CEDO the morning of Sept. 21 when residents reported seeing the sea turtle depositing eggs. Castillo arrived in time to see some of the eggs being laid, and realized they were also probably too far below the high water line to survive.

But because the Olive Ridley sea turtle is listed as endangered in Mexico, Castillo said, he could not move the eggs to higher ground. He called a federal government wildlife biologist who came up from Guadalajara to investigate.

Meanwhile, Castillo said, the residents marked the location of the buried eggs and tried to keep people out of the area.

He said the federal wildlife biologist chose to move the 70-some eggs to the Mayan Palace resort hotel, about 25 miles south of downtown Puerto Peñasco, commonly called Rocky Point, the popular Sonoran beach town about a four-hour drive southwest of Tucson. The new luxury resort has a staff biologist and a wildlife protection program for seabirds.

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