Watch­ing over the Tur­tles

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Cat Foster

In Oax­aca, Mexico, author­i­ties are us­ing drones to help pro­tect the tur­tles that come ashore to lay their eggs, and to ap­pre­hend the poach­ers who steal the eggs.

The olive ri­d­ley sea tur­tle is an en­dan­gered species and ac­tivists claim that up to 80% of the eggs laid along a cer­tain Mex­i­can beach were be­ing taken. The drones give Fed­eral in­spec­tors a live feed of the com­ings and go­ings of the an­i­mals and of their nest­ing spots. The ‘eye in the sky’ also gives them an ad­van­ta­geous view of the beach and ter­rain so that they can iden­tify paths fol­lowed through hills and bush by un­wel­come visi­tors, which would oth­er­wise be hard to trace at ground level.

The drones are prov­ing to be a greater de­ter­rent for poach­ers than the fines that are levied for steal­ing the tur­tles and their eggs.

Fed­eral in­spec­tors also toyed with the idea of leav­ing dis­pos­able cam­eras on the beach in the hope of see­ing the first tur­tle ‘selfie’.

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