Tours and Activities:
Endangered TurtlesFlorencia Pollack Florencia Pollack
The presence of sea turtles on the shores of Northern Uruguay used to be part of the common sense of its people, until one day there was no more talking about them. Today, they are back.
For thousands of years, the sea turtles have made their nests on the shores of Rocha without the intervention of man in this natural cycle. Today, it is man who helps to keep this habit.
The Cerro Verde area, towards the East, in the zone lying close to the Brazilian border, is the site where this captivating phenomenon attracts volunteers not only from Uruguay but also from all round the world every year.
It is not known for certain why the sea turtles deposit their eggs on a particular beach, essentially on that beach that witnessed their birth.
Of all the eggs the turtles bury in the sand, only a small percentage of the born offspring will manage to become adults. The main difficulty they face is to survive during the first 48 hours of life, when they must go from the sand to the sea and search for food at the same time they have to avoid many predators (they are the favorite dish for seagulls). Some of them, even when they are adults, suffer wounds or die as a result of the waste carelessly thrown into the sea by man.
To the Rescue!
Ever since 1999, the Karumbé Project has kept watch over the well-being of these harmless and attractive animals.
It is usual that the turtles mistake waste such as plastic for food. As they eat them, they are either intoxicated or victims of inner injuries.
Young volunteers of the project rescue and rehabilitate these turtles and then give them back to the ocean. With the aim of preventing, as well as curing, these accidents, they organize campaigns and events for the population to become aware of the risk the species runs.
A Second Chance
A group of children celebrates with enthusiasm and exaltation on the seashore. At seven o’clock on a Sunday afternoon, Karumbé will free one turtle that will finally have been given its health back.
The project group has spent the day playing with the children, teaching them to love, to care for and to respect this endangered species.
The turtle moves its legs when one of the youths picks it up carefully in order to deposit it on the sand. Amidst cheering and applauding from both children and grown-ups, the turtle walks instinctively along the shore until it finally gets deep into the water in search for its peers.
When we could hardly see its shell getting away towards the high sea, we could not help thinking about the strange mechanisms of nature. If it is lucky, the small turtle will meet some of the members of its group once again. And in one year time, it will surely fulfill its mission to continue the species on this very beach. Just like its ancestors have behaved for years on end.