With this blog post, I’m starting a regular series of short essays on examples of connections in Nature. It is my hope that these examples will help you and yours build a deeper consciousness for Nature that includes an awareness of how things are connected in Nature and the consequences of breaking those connections. Some of the examples are extracted from my latest Amazon book Connections : Life Sustaining Relationships In Nature.
This post offers a specific example of human interference with newly hatched sea turtles as they attempt to move from their hatching site on a beach to the ocean’s edge. But first, you might want to get a little background on sea turtles from this interesting article by Greenpeace.
One of the plagues of our modern environment is irresponsible use of ATVs and their adverse effect on Nature. This popular activity has the potential of breaking links in Nature’s connections. ATV noise pollution is a major issue in the soundscapes of our forests, prairies, and wetlands. Another broken link occurs when ATVs destroy sensitive habitat.
A case in point is the destruction of newly hatched turtles by ATVs as their operators drive their machines along beaches. Every year, in November, Olive Ridley sea turtles hatch on beaches along the shores of the Sea of Cortez near San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico. In order to survive, the newly hatched turtles must walk from the inland side of the beach to the water line where they enter the sea. Their hazards during their walk are the desiccating heat of the sun and aerial predators such as vultures and gulls. Here is a wonderful video of a baby turtle entering the Sea of Cortez
Unfortunately there is a third predator. During the Thanksgiving holiday in November, many Anglo visitors come to San Carlos with their ATVs. Despite the fact that this beach is a protected reserve where there are signs prohibiting such activity, the ATVs are driven up and down the beaches endangering human beings and leaving deep ruts in the sand.
These ruts, which run parallel to the waterline, prevent the newly hatched turtles from getting to the water from where they hatched . The baby turtles are caught in the ruts and are forced to move parallel to the beach rather than to the water. The good news is that a number of caring souls pick up many of the little guys and carry them to the water. But, an unknown number presumably perish due to the sun and aerial predators because the ATV ruts prevent these kids from getting to the water. One of the people who was rescuing the baby turtles tried to talk to an ATVer about the turtles. The ATV guy’s response bordered on the violent. This same problem has happened in previous years as well. People visiting the area think that, because this is Mexico, they can do anything they want including ignoring rules that are meant to protect people and the environment.
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My name is Bill Graham. As a Marine Biologist who has worked in the US and Mexico for 30 years, I am a student of Nature, a teacher, a researcher, and a nature photographer. Through my work, I have acquired an ever growing passion for how everything in Nature is connected. Today, I travel extensively contemplating about, writing about, and photographing Nature’s connections. I also work with conservation projects in the USA and Mexico and mentor talented youth.