Saturday, July 25, 2009
Drugs, guns, gangs--and turtles
It is wild here, the stories are intense. Guns and drugs, lots of both.
Hit the ground running yesterday--4:30 rise, drove across the country and got on a Navy gunboat to explore a deserted island for hawksbill turtle nests--with an armed soldier.
Only two years ago, researchers discovered the last, best population of Eastern Pacific hawksbill sea turtles. Researcher J Nichols has jumped in here to try to quickly protect them--perhaps 100 turtles. Earlier this year, egg collecting was outlawed--up until now 95+ percent of the eggs were harvested and sold.
The big issue here is dodging the drug traffickers--some beaches and islands are totally off-limits. The police won't even enter these areas.