Recently, small sea turtles were released on Chacocente beach, which is part of the Río Escalante-Chacocente Wildlife Refuge, an extensive territory of dry tropical forest that covers more than 4,600 hectares. These recently released specimens were raised in nurseries on that same beach, located about 82 kilometers south of Managua, specifically in the agricultural municipality of Santa Teresa. During the course of August, the successful release of 2,000 of these chelonians was achieved in Chacocente.
The release process involves both the protection of the natural nests made by the turtles in the sand, which extend for approximately 1,500 meters, and the rescue of eggs that remain exposed on the beach. These eggs are transferred to hatcheries carefully supervised by park rangers, where their proper incubation is ensured until they are released.
The life cycle of the paslama turtle, also known as Olive Ridleys or Olive Ridleys (Lepidochelys olivacea), includes a nesting period that lasts between 45 and 50 days. These release events coincide with the massive arrival of turtles that nest annually in Chacocente. Approximately 50,000 paslama turtles come to this beach each year to deposit their eggs in the sand, and this “arrival season” runs from July to January of the following year.
The release of these turtles contributes to their life cycle and the conservation process. The released specimens will return to the same beach where they were born within 15 to 20 years to nest, following their natural cycle. Paslama turtles can measure up to 70 centimeters and weigh around 40 kilos.
Chacocente Beach mainly receives paslama turtles, a species that has been in danger of extinction since 2006, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. This means that their hunting is prohibited indefinitely. Although in smaller numbers, specimens of other threatened species also arrive, such as the hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), the bull turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), and the bull turtle (Chelonia agassizii).
In Nicaragua, the massive arrival of turtles for nesting occurs on two main beaches: Chacocente and La Flor, the latter located further south. This phenomenon also occurs in other places in Central America, such as Costa Rica and Panama.