Published On: Tue, Aug 28th, 2018

Sea Turtles and Whale Sharks affected by tourism activity in Quintana Roo.

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Mexican biologist María Andrade Hernández, director of Pronatura Penínsular, announced that turtles with tumors are being spotted in Akumal, Quintana Roo, possibly due to the excessive use of tanning oils and sun blockers by tourists.

She indicated that this is a sample of how tourism activity is affecting marine species, in this case she spoke of sea turtles as well as whale sharks.

Andrade Hernández expressed that in Akumal, where “swim with turtles” tours are offered, some chelonians are now showing tumors due to the excessive use of chemicals contained in tanning oil and sun blockers, that affect the water composition.

She also indicated that, several complaints have been made, because in many cases the capacity in these areas for swimming with turtles is exceeded. She added that the new tourist developments, which are being created in this coastal town, also directly affect the turtles’ nesting areas.


In places like Holbox there is no depredation by humans, however, in the last two years, an increase of 40% has been registered in the raccoon population, these animals feed from the trash generated by humans, and they eat the eggs of the tortoise.

Andrade Hernández stated that the situation of straws and plastic bags is global and not particular to Quintana Roo, but it is necessary to take urgent measures to eradicate this problem, which affects not only turtles but other species too.

The specialist also confirmed that, due to the increase in tourism, whale shark tours are affecting the behavior of this species, which now seek food in places further away from the traditional feeding spots. She indicated that during the last season of whale shark swimming, more than 75,000 tourists (most of them using sun block creams and oils) were registered in just 4 months.

RMT Newsroom with information from



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