SUMMARY OF RESULTS OF OUR WATER QUALITY, REEF AND SEA TURTLE PROGRAMS
Water management is one of the biggest challenges facing Akumal and all of Quintana Roo in order to guarantee sustainable development. Tourism, irregular tour operators, and the absence of infrastructure are affecting and increasing natural resource and marine ecosystems degradation. Water quality in Akumal has been declining because of poor wastewater management and the uncontrolled numbers of people visiting the area. Studies show that between 2008 and 2013, 50% of the coral has disappeared, as well as 40% of seagrass and 60% of fish. If this continues, we face an environmental disaster that will impact Akumal's community directly, as it depends economically on the proper balance and functionality of this ecosystem.
However, in spite of the development in Akumal over the past 20 years, we are seeing an increase in the number of nesting sea turtles. Since 2010, the number of Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas) has been growing, while the Loggerhead Turtles (Caretta caretta) remain constant. The 2013 nesting season is the most important in Akumal's history, with 901 nests registered. Likewise, we are receiving more support from local hotels, residents and tourists during the season. Every year people are more aware of, and show greater interest in, our projects. We must continue these efforts, because although nesting numbers are rising, sea turtles still face threats due to beach erosion, coastal development and global warming.
For 20 years, Centro Ecológico Akumal has supported scientific research of water and marine ecosystem issues in the Riviera Maya. Because of our location and infrastructure, we are an excellent site to host national and international researchers and students. At the same time CEA is working with the community and federal authorities to create a bay management program that seeks a balance between the environment and local economy. Research shows us that the moment is critical; there is time to guarantee the future of Akumal and by working together we can avoid major environmental damage.
SEA TURTLE SEASON UPDATE
Once again, nesting turtles have finished their nightly visits to Akumal beaches. At the beginning, the outlook was encouraging for the 2013 nesting season. Since last year we witnessed a record number of nests and hatchlings in Akumal. However, expectations were exceeded in a major way, especially given that this year was expected to be a low season. To date, we have recorded a total of 901 nests (Loggerhead 195, Green 706) and a total of 57,140 baby turtles, becoming the season with the highest number of protected nests and hatchlings released in Akumal by CEA.
During the upcoming months, the Sea Turtle Program will monitor and work the remaining nests on the beach. Duties include nest cleaning, helping hatchlings, and releases. For more information, please contact
This year, thanks to a donation by Las Villas Akumal, the Sea Turtle Program obtained a stock of tags to identify individuals, intending to expand our knowledge of reproductive biology of sea turtles.
Also, through a collaborative project with Operation Wallacea, 58 Hobos (sensors) were placed into 58 nests to monitor temperature during incubation period, in order to estimate sex ratios for sea turtles. With this information and with global warming being a major threat to sea turtle populations, we can create alternatives for their protection.
We want to thank all volunteers and congratulate them on their efforts this season (Diana, Javier, Stephen, Augusto, Liz, Martha, Adam, Janet, Jaime, Holly, Susie, Elio, Cheryl, Donny, Tom C., Jessica, Rebecca, Katie D., Katie C., Bill, Betsy, Laura, Hannah, Tom L., Kathy, Yannick, Christine, and Yelenna).
SEA TURTLE FESTIVAL
Akumal was the host of the closing events of the 2013 Sea Turtle Festival. We appreciate the support of all the sponsors who made it possible: Restaurante Pancho Villa, Hotel Vista del Mar, La Buena Vida, Restaurante Lol-Ha, Hotel Club Akumal Caribe, Super Chomak, Turtle Bay Café & Bakery and La Cueva del Pescador. Visitors and locals enjoyed the music of Procer, an amazing rock band, as well as the incredible fire show by Atomic Weight. The children had fun with the educational games and a rally where they learned about sea turtles and their importance. Thank you very much again and see you next year!
We had our Summer Course on Quintana Roo's birds. It was in July, with 20 kids from Akumal Pueblo, and it was run by Ana Mancera, our Environmental Education Program. Kids learned, through lectures and games, everything about birds and their migration through the Gulf of Mexico. We are very happy for the kids' participation and enthusiasm. We expect you next year!
GIS TRAINING IN AKUMAL, MEXICO
December 9–14, 2013
Working with ArcGIS for Environmental Analysis
Juniper GIS is partnering with Centro Ecológico Akumal (CEA), Amigos de Sian Ka'an (ASK), and Global Vision International (GVI) to offer a one-week GIS class for only 500 USD. This class, ArcGIS for Environmental Analysis, will focus on beginning and intermediate GIS skills for those who want to learn and/or enhance their GIS skills with a focus on conservation and natural resource applications. You will work alongside local conservation staff and students from other parts of the world. Your fees will help provide training to CEA and ASK staff and to further their conservation efforts. Students will need to bring their own laptops capable of running ArcGIS 10.1.
The class will be held in the CEA facilities in Akumal, about 1½ hours from the Cancun airport and about 20 minutes north of Tulum. For further information, please contact:
We want to make a special announcement to thank the person who made our website possible over the last four years. Thank you, Corinne Lambert, owner of Cancun Diseño, for your support and great work!
And well, this year couldn't be the exception. Thanks to the support all year long from schools, students and volunteers, our conservation programs have reach great goals. We are so proud of your work. Thank you, guys!