The problem: Some hotels and resorts in places like Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America actually exploit sea turtles. There are resorts that have staff dig up the turtles' nests and bring the eggs back to the resorts' private hatcheries. Then they sell the opportunity to release the hatchlings into the water. It sounds adorable, but it's deadly for several reasons. "Hatchlings held in captivity lose the very small store of energy they are born with to swim out into the ocean," says Godfrey. "They'll burn that energy just sitting in a bucket, waiting to be released, so they have no energy left to swim."
Plus, these private releases almost always happen during the day, rather than at night or in the wee hours of the morning, as would happen in nature. "Baby turtles are sitting ducks during the day," says Godfrey. "That's when they're most visible to fish and birds. And these resorts let guest release one or two at a time, so they no longer have the protection of the group. "Sea turtles evolved to hit the water in group of 80 to 100 at night, so as many as possible can survive predators," explains Godfrey.