Tuesdays with Turtles – Poaching in Mexico

This article brings up some interesting information about sea turtle poaching in Mexico, including the fact that sea turtle eggs are considered aphrodisiacal in certain cultures…

Real Men Don’t Eat Turtle Eggs : To Fight Turtle Poaching, Campaigners Hit Below the Belt (By C.J. Bahnsen)

But there have been recent gains. WiLDCOAST, a small conservation organization also co-founded by Nichols, has implemented a media campaign. It started in 2005, when Argentine singer and Playboy model Dorismar attracted controversial attention by appearing in television and poster PSAs, hitting Mexican men—who eat turtle eggs mistakenly believing they are aphrodisiacs—below the belt. The message above a salacious Dorismar reads: “My man doesn’t need to eat turtle eggs; because he knows they don’t make him more potent.” The bold campaign reached a global audience of 300 million and resulted in a decrease in consumption of sea turtle eggs.

Well, the unfortunate thing about aphrodisiacs is that if you believe, it works! So, I guess a Playboy model telling you that sea turtles eggs are baloney may work. They author does say there was a decrease in consumption, but presumably, it is not quite that easy to ascribe causation relationships to particular parts of a campaign!

Other highlights…

Turtle smuggling is thought to be a proving ground, a gateway into drug trafficking. Mexico is the principal transit country for 70 to 90 percent of cocaine entering the U.S., and the largest outside source of
marijuana and methamphetamine.

This, I did not know.

Grupo Tortuguero continues its David-vs.-Goliath efforts to co-opt fishermen and volunteers from Baja’s fishing communities to monitor, tag and protect sea turtles. The group has dozens of sites along the peninsula and all have drug issues, ranging from trafficking to addiction. “I’ve interacted with fishers who were not ‘poachers,’ but were poaching for money to feed their habit,” says Nichols

The article is interesting because it points out the similarities between sea turtle smuggling and drug smuggling, the use of young women, the co-opting of users to become dealers, the bribery of local officials, the organization to avoid capture, etc. Hmm…

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