Tigre Salvaje

Update 2013

The 2012-2013 Sea Turtle Season has already started.Last turtle season (2011-2012) we incubated and released 11,553 Turtles, and of course we are hoping to do better this season.

Tigre Salvaje Update Jan. 2013
Happy New Year to one and all!

Yes I am still here, but for how much longer, I cannot say. I am waiting to hear from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, hoping that I will receive the grant of $27,000 that I, with the help of my sister Mary Ann, have applied for. This money would enable me to keep going for at least another year. But, there are so many applicants and so few grants to be awarded, that it is a long shot at best.
Here is a little data…..
In the first 10 months of this 12 month turtle season that, for practical purposes runs from March through February, I have acquired 91 nests. Last year in the same time frame I had acquired 122 nests. I have two more months left in this season, before starting the next in March. So far this season I have purchased 5,500 eggs from the poachers who would have otherwise sold them to the cantinas or in the market. I have personally collected 2,545 eggs, releasing 5,381 baby turtles with 17 more nests in the incubators. These numbers do not include the eggs from our other incubator on the other side of the point (it has received approximately 500 eggs to date).

I have installed a Microsoft Excel program to help be keep track of the data that I have been collecting, and have received some wonderful advice on how to do this from Dr. Karen Eckert of “WIDECAST”, and Dr. Tony Tucker of “MOTE Marine”. But, alas, I have been living without electricity for the past 2 months, and this makes it a bit difficult to keep the laptop battery charged. My water pump also is electric, and so I have also been without water. Thankfully, there is a spring with clean drinking water behind the house.

I have been able to save several adult Olive Ridleys and a few Green sea turtles this year and on Dec. 14th. a female Hawksbill was washed up on the beach. She was covered with several hundred barnacles, the largest measuring 2.5 inches across. She was so near to being dead that, at first, I thought that she was. She must have been floating for weeks, if not months, and the barnacles were fastened deep into her flesh and shell. After carefully cleaning her with knife, hammer and chisel, she was released into one of our fresh water fish ponds, where she remained comatose for the next 5 days while I tried to force feed her chicken eggs, fish, and crushed crabs. She regurgitated almost everything, but either because she was able to take some nourishment from this, or because she was tired of my harassment, she started trying to swim, but she could not dive and forage. It seems that she had gotten some air trapped in her shell and it took her another 2 days to work this out of her system. Then she started to eat, and now she has been trying to make up for lost time, consuming 1.5 lbs. of fish per day. I have also been taking her to the tide pools to forage in the saltwater. She now seems strong enough to release, but I am hesitant because for the past month I have been seeing as many as 14 long line fishing boats working around the end of this peninsula, not to mention all the shrimp trawlers that continue to decimate the turtle population here and in all unprotected oceans.

On a lighter note…..My neighbors at the “eco project Mono Feliz” have put up “NO POACHING” signs on one of the beaches where I have been trying to save the eggs before the Mono Feliz Clan, or the Mono Feliz dogs can get them. As far as I know, they are still selling meals of endangered and protected animals to their unsuspecting guests. I believe this clan of poachers has been my biggest problem here in Panama.

Because I am on good terms with the police, and I do not drink, traffic in narcotics, or use them, a certain Clan has decided that I am a drug enforcement agent. Last week my effigy, with “D.E.A.” painted on the chest and hat, was hung from a tree in front of Mono Feliz and burnt over the beach. In my life, I have probably had more than my share of unusual experiences, but I believe this is the first time that I have been burnt in effigy.

I have to go and release the Hawksbill.
Until next time…………….Dave

Letters of Endorsment

Primary Goal - Learn More


More information in English and Spanish

back to the top