It's not easy being a baby sea turtle. Once you break out of your shell you have to find the ocean and hightail it to the waves, avoiding seagulls, large fish, and other predators before you even have a chance of survival.
And those are the dangers you face AFTER you hatch. In some parts of the world, they never even get a chance to peek through their shell because the locals find turtle eggs so delicious they collect them by the hundreds.
That's what happened recently in Nicaragua's La Flor Beach Natural Reserve
. The reserve is a coveted nesting spot among female olive ridley sea turtles. They come in droves to lay their eggs in the soft sand in hopes that in a few months, they will hatch and make it back to sea. But too often that doesn't happen, and what happened earlier this month is a tragic example. A video that's recently gone viral, shows several locals wading in the ocean and grabbing female turtles straight out of the water.
Usually, egg hunters wait for the turtles to lay their eggs before they swoop — which is illegal itself — but, as the Daily Mail notes, the most recent "video marks [a] new level of cruelty."
The stunning footage shows the enormous turtles, flipped upside down, propped up on the poachers' shoulders flailing helplessly before they disappear into the distance.
While the poachers just want their eggs, it's likely that the mother turtles didn't survive the ordeal, making this story even more tragic.
The video shows that even though egg poaching is highly illegal in Nicaragua and turtles are protected there, there is still a lot more that needs to be done. If locals can simply walk down to the beach and snatch a 50 to a hundred pound creature out of the ocean in plain sight, with no repercussions then clearly something is wrong. Nicaragua needs to protect the turtles and their eggs especially at their most vulnerable otherwise their laws are superficial. Please join us in demanding that Nicaraguan officials implement a beach watch and guard program to protect sea turtles during nesting season and prosecute poachers to the fullest extent of the law. Sign the petition.