Target: U.S. Embassy in Mexico City
Goal: Support understaffed and unarmed law enforcement officials to protect endangered sea turtles
Mexican drug gangs are stealing endangered turtle eggs, which are served as a delicacy in Mexico and throughout the Caribbean. The laws protecting sea turtles have only driven the poaching and trade of them underground. Even now, the Mexican population of turtles is depleting. Demand increased efforts towards enforcement from the Mexican government.
A sea-turtle activist, named Jaira Mora, and four female volunteers were abducted while patrolling at night to protect nesting turtles. Mora was killed, while the women were found tied up at an abandoned house. His colleagues fear he was killed for speaking against the increasingly bold poaching tactics of the Mexican drug gangs.
Sea turtles that are killed for their shells or their hides are often killed by a blow to the head. Often times the hides will be used to hide cocaine shipments.
Similar to China, centuries-old traditions make turtle parts very valuable and marketable in Mexico, though they are often hidden at rural markets and restaurants unless a customer specifically asks for them. Turtle meat and eggs are often served at weddings and political gatherings because they are so expensive, despite the laws created to protect the turtles and their eggs.
Inspector Miguel Angel Calzada Adame, who represents the Federal Environmental Prosecutor’s Office for Guerrero State, says that it is difficult to get to San Valentin beach thanks to all the armed people involved in poaching and drug trafficking there. If Mexico is going to protect its sea turtles, it needs to start devoting more people and more equipment to the causes. Environmental activists have passion and commitment, but faced with a loaded gun, that doesn’t come to much.
Dear Ambassador E. Anthony Wayne,
Mexican law enforcement needs help. The inspectors charged with enforcing the turtle protection laws and the environmentalists who volunteer their time to protect their turtle eggs are trying to go against armed drug gangs and that can only result in failure. It’s already resulted in the death of Jaira Mora.
There is some evidence suggesting that the same people who work with drugs work with the animals, so if local law enforcement and the US increased their efforts, not only could more animals be saved (only about 40 percent of the sea turtle eggs at San Valentin escape the Mexican drug gangs) but more drugs shipments could be stopped before they cross the US border.
Please think about encouraging further cooperation between the US and Mexican law enforcement in order to better put a stop to the nefarious misdoings of the Mexican drug gangs, before the damage done becomes irreparable.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: AlejandroLinareGarcia via Commons