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Hawksbill Turtles Thought Extinct Now Back On Colombia's Beaches

Hawksbill Turtles Thought Extinct Now Back On Colombia's Beaches

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."

Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region

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Geopolitics

With The Chechen War Veterans Fighting For Ukraine — And For Revenge

They came to fight Russia, and to avenge the deaths of their loved ones and friends killed in Chechnya. Not wanting to sit in the trenches, they've found work in intelligence and sabotage.

Photo of members of the pro-Ukrainian Chechen group "Dzhokhar Dudayev Battalion" posing with weapons

Members of the pro-Ukrainian Chechen group "Dzhokhar Dudayev Battalion"

Lydia Mikhalchenko

At least five Chechen units are fighting for Ukraine, with more than 1,000 troops in each unit — and their number is growing.

Most of these Chechen fighters took part in the first and second Chechen wars with Russia, and were forced to flee to Ukraine or elsewhere in Europe after their defeat. Vazhnyye Istorii correspondent Lydia Mikhalchenko met with some of these fighters.

Four of the five Chechen battalions are part of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and are paid the standard wages (about €4,000 per month for those on the front line) and receive equipment and supplies.

Chechen fighters say they appreciate that Ukrainian commanders don't order them to take unnecessary risks and attack objectives just to line up with an unrealistic schedule or important dates — something Russian generals are fond of doing.

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The experienced Chechen fighters have taken fewer losses than many other units. Unhappy sitting in trenches, they mostly engage in reconnaissance and sabotage, moving along the front lines. "The Russians wake up, and the commander is gone. Or he's dead," one of the fighters explains.

Some of the fighters say that the Ukrainian war is easier than their previous battles in Chechnya, when they had to sit in the mountains for weeks without supplies and make do with small stocks of arms and ammunition. Some call this a "five-star war."

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