Some of the press releases I receive are very useful, and some are kind of random. I received an announcement at some point that the baby sea turtles were starting to hatch in Baja. Very adorable, but Baja's not my beat, so I let it go.
A month ago I received another baby sea turtle email announcing that there were still vacancies for the press junket. I read it again. Yes, this definitely looked like an invitation. My blog may be LA-centric, but it also reports on tecchie news and is super-green. Luckily, I had already taken the week off for a workshop. Hmmm, saving baby sea turtles in Cabo vs. staring at hypnotic hotel meeting room carpets? No contest!
But who were these people? Was it all a ruse to kidnap me and sell my kidneys on the black market? I checked them out, and ASUPMATOMA sure looked legit.
The Association for the Protection of the Environment and the Marine Turtle in Southern Baja (ASUPMATOMA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the endangered sea turtles of Baja California Sur, Mexico, and the overall environmental sustainability of Los Cabos’ beautiful beaches, lands and surrounding communities.
ASUPMATOMA was founded more than 18 years ago by René Pinal, a prominent real estate investor and conservationist in Cabo San Lucas, along with a team of biologists and local residents to address the pressing environmental issues facing Los Cabos. In particular, the organization is a leading worldwide advocate of the preservation of the endangered sea turtles, which are now at risk of destruction in the Sea of Cortez region due to rapid land development, pollution, and illegal hunting and fishing practices.
For nearly two decades, at Pinal’s Rancho Punta San Cristobal estate, a three-and-a-half-mile stretch of environmentally protected beaches and lands (located along the Pacific Coast of Baja approx. 15 minutes north of Cabo San Lucas), ASUPMATOMA has saved tens of thousands of sea turtles in the wild and hundreds of thousands of baby sea turtle hatchlings along the beaches of Los Cabos. In addition, Pinal’s natural lands protect more than 17 other species in the area, some which are also endangered.
In the 80s I spent time in Baja with Linda and D Boone, who LOVED sea turtle tacos. Luckily, I had not yet developed an adventurous palate, so I didn't have to deal with any guilt on this trip. OK, I ate Turtle Soup once at Commander's Palace. But who knows what kind of turtle it was? Definitely not one as adorable as these! (I am reminded of the little girls on "Kid Nation" who would only allow the "ugly chickens" to be sacrificed for soup).
The consumption of sea turtle meat and eggs has been illegal in Mexico for over 20 years now, but poachers still supply a thriving black market. One nest can yield 200-dollars worth of eggs, a lot of money in an impoverished country. To address this issue, ASUPMATOMA has a special program for children called, "Papa, no come las tortugas!"
Daddy, Don’t Eat the Sea Turtles!
Daddy, Don’t Eat the Sea Turtles is an environmental program created to educate and raise public awareness about the endangered sea turtles and environment, and in particular, encourage the citizens of Los Cabos, and throughout Mexico, to stop the consumption of eggs and meat of sea turtles which is still considered a delicacy.
OK, so no eating sea turtles. But I hear they do make ant egg tacos in that part of the country. Cabo, here I come!