As turtles released on Mexican beach, thieves steal eggs

SAN PEDRO HUAMELULA, Mexico (AP) " Thieves on donkeys stole newly deposited sea turtle eggs from their sandy nests on a southern Mexico beach several hours before a group of children arrived to watch a conservation program release 8,000 previously hatched baby turtles into the sea.

The men were seen scooping up the eggs early Thursday in Oaxaca state, but there were no authorities in sight. The thieves were gone before dozens of children arrived several hours later to watch the turtle hatchlings scramble into the sea. The baby turtles were earlier hatched at a sanctuary run by the Mexican Turtle Center conservation program and brought to the beach for the release.

Joel Vazquez Rojas, mayor of San Pedro Huamelula, says humans are the turtles' top predators and the program is needed to protect the hatchlings.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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