EDITORIAL: NEON: Egg Thieves
Leatherback turtles are one of the most endangered species on earth, due mostly to human activity. Their numbers have seen a sharp decline worldwide in the last 30 years, with NOAA saying that decline is around 80%.
Over development of nesting grounds, pollution of the oceans, fishing nets are just a few of the indirect way mankind has affected their populations. The most direct though is the illegal collection of their eggs for food. In Mexico it is ancient lore that because the turtles mate for up to 18 hours, eating their eggs will produce enhanced stamina for men. The irony here is while the mating ritual including courtship takes up to 18 hours, mating itself takes only a few seconds.
Still egg thieves defy the law - and stiff penalties - to sell the eggs on the black market. As recently as the early ‘80s Mexico was home to 65% of the world’s nesting population. Today that number has dwindled to less than 1%.