Six years ago, people thought the endangered hawksbill sea turtle had become extinct in one of its habitats, the American Pacific coast. But, as it turns out, they haven't quite yet.
After several were spotted months back in Colombia's Gorgona national park, Colombian investigators and collaborators from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) began searching for more along the country's Pacific coast. They found six in September on a beach in the Utría national park, which suggested there were more nearby, says El Espectador.
Specialist Alexander Gaos deemed it a "historic expedition" and the park was providing hope that the turtles might survive along the Pacific coast. The expedition found a total of 11 turtles, who were given a medical checkup, then registered and released.
Two were tagged so their movements could be monitored, this being crucial to their conservation, according to the biologist Diego Amorocho. There is no guarantee the species would survive, he added, with just 500 female turtles thought to remain in the Americas. "Certain communities covet their eggs and the beaches where they reproduce are overtaken by buildings as well as pollution."
He said he saw one turtle nearby "30 years ago, when I first came to Utría, and was always convinced this was an important place for them. We can confirm now that this was true."