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Environmentalists request sea turtle sanctuary expansion to stop hotel

Playa del Carmen, Q.R. — More than 20 environmental organizations from the state have made a request to extend the protected sea turtle nesting site at Xcacelito in order to stop a hotel construction project.

The move comes after the announcement of a new hotel project in the area of the Xcacel Sea Turtle Sanctuary at Xcacelito. Organizations are requesting that the state government expand the protected area from 100 meters to 550 meters in an east-west direction. In this expansion, they are also requesting the inclusion of two private properties where the proposed La Calma Hotel could be built.

Araceli Domínguez of the Ecological Group of the Mayab said that it is a step closer to the preservation of the area that by decree, was declared a Protected Natural Area Xcacel-Xcacelito Region in 1998.

In a document to state Governor Carlos Joaquín González, environmentalists have said “We request your support to definitively rescue the Xcacel-Xcacelitosea turtle nesting beach for being the most important nesting beach for White and Caguama turtles (…) and the only area on the coast of Quintana Roo that keeps it in a virgin and well preserved state.”

Groups such as Voces Unidas de Puerto Morelos, Grupo de los Cien, Conservation of Marine Mammals and Todos Unidos by Holbox, among others, have stressed that the extension is not only of the three kilometers of coastline, but rather the Protected Natural Area, which is the entire area between Xel-Ha park to the south and Chemuyil to the north.

“Lord Governor, we ask you to DECLARE THE 5 PREDIOS STATE PROTECTED NATURAL AREA expanding the polygon of the sanctuary and encompass from the beach, in the east to the federal highway in the west, and from Chemuyil in the North, to Xel-ha in the South by swapping or leaving in private ownership the area under protection status.”

This request came from the Environmental Impact Statement of the La Calma project by Palmares del Country, which is currently before the Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) for evaluation.

Araceli Domínguez and Guadalupe de la Rosa of Moce Yax Cuxta says the hotel project, La Calma Eco Resort Luxury Master Plan, has some discrepancies, one of which is that the location of the land they are requesting does not exist because in reality, it is located within the Sea Turtle Sanctuary.