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TuesdayJuly 3, 2012

Latino Daily News: Bringing You the Latest Hispanic Current Events and News Stories 24/7

To reflect the dynamic interests of our audience, Latino Daily News is an online daily news source and virtual cultural center for and about Latinos. We offer the latest news headlines, as well as innovative and insightful Hispanic current events stories, photos, videos, and commentaries from a Latino perspective, 24/7.

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LULAC Supports Gay Marriage

The League of United Latin American Citizens is the second leading Hispanic organization in the United States to support the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Julio Alva, a LULAC district director in Florida, told Efe on Tuesday that the organization took its decision based on a number of aspects but particularly on the legalities of the matter, so that couples can one day be recognized as such and receive mutual benefits.

“It’s not fair that after spending their whole lives together, these couples cannot hope to receive certain benefits and that when one of them dies, the other cannot gain possession of the corresponding assets,” he said.

LULAC issued a resolution backing equal matrimonial rights for same-sex couples during its 83rd annual convention held last week in Orlando, Florida.

The resolution was made after the National Council of La Raza approved a similar one in early June.

The cofounder of LULAC’s first LGBT council, Jesse Garcia, said that members of the organization “reaffirmed their commitment to equality by voting in favor of matrimonial equality.”

He said the organization thus aligns itself with “great Latino leaders” like U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and labor and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta.

The backing of the country’s leading Hispanic organizations comes after Barack Obama in May became the first U.S. president to publicly express his support for gay marriage.

“The president, with the courageous stand he has taken, made it possible for organizations like ours to also come out and back a crusade that strikes us as excellent for these times. May the whole world continue with this opening,” Alva told Efe.

The LULAC resolution was also hailed in a statement to Efe from Felipe Matos of GetEqual, a group that defends the LGBT’s civil rights.

“We believe this is a great step forward, for our liberation is an element of the freedom all Latinos seek in the United States. In GetEqual we’re very grateful for LULAC’S support and that of the NCLR,” Matos said Tuesday.

He said, however, that a further step is still needed - the signing of an executive order by Obama to halt workplace discrimination against the LGBT.

“There is no law that protects the LGBT from discrimination in the workplace. A person can be fired just for being gay, so we’re asking President Obama to sign an executive order to stop the discrimination against those who work in companies that have contracts with the federal government,” he said.

A recent NCLR study showed that the Hispanic community has improved its perception of the LGBT and that it is “more open and tolerant” than other segments of the U.S. population.

The study showed that the acceptance of the LGBT community is directly proportional to the time the Hispanics have lived in the United States.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Colombian General Surrenders to DEA

Colombian General Surrenders to DEA

Photo: Mauricio Santoyo turned himself into the DEA this morning

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A retired Colombian police general who was a top aide to former President Alvaro Uribe gave himself up Tuesday to agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to answer charges he colluded with traffickers.

The director of the National Police, Gen. Jose Roberto Leon Riaño, told a press conference that Mauricio Santoyo left Bogota around 8:00 a.m. aboard a DEA plane bound for Washington.

“The word is that he contacted the American authorities. He traveled having taken all the steps necessary to leave the country. What we know right now is that he traveled with a special permit and a kind of temporary visa issued him by U.S. authorities,” Leon Riaño said.

Santoyo is accused of having sold information from Colombian, British and U.S. intelligence agencies to drug cartels and the now-defunct AUC federation of rightist militias.

According to the daily El Espectador, Santoyos’ attorneys began making contact this weekend with Colombian police and the U.S. Embassy in Bogota.

The investigation of Santoyo was set in motion by the statements of three erstwhile AUC commanders extradited to the United States - Salvatore Mancuso, Juan Carlos Sierra and Carlos Mario Jimenez - who implicated him in a string of illegal activities.

Santoyo met Uribe in 1995 when he was part of the police anti-kidnapping unit, later provided security during his electoral campaign and served him in his first presidential administration, from 2002-2006.

Uribe defended his former aide’s good service when he learned of the accusation, and over the past few days recommended on Twitter that Santoyo give himself up to U.S. authorities as soon as possible.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Europe’s Biggest Illegal Pot Plantation Found in Spain

Europe’s Biggest Illegal Pot Plantation Found in Spain

Photo: Europe's largest illegal pot plantation was found in Spain

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Authorities have found the largest illegal marijuana plantation in Europe, with about 10,000 plants in 16 greenhouses, on a farm in the eastern Spanish province of Alicante.

Civil Guard agents arrested the two people in charge of the plantation and one of them has already been sent to prison as per a judicial order.

The operation, which was conducted last week, was launched after authorities learned that 16 greenhouses had been installed on a farm in the town of Lliber whose license to grow vegetables had been denied.

During the investigation, agents found thousands of pot plants inside the greenhouses.

Lliber is a town of about 1,000 people in the northern part of Alicante province.

The owners of the pot farm, a 45-year-old Briton and an 18-year-old Spaniard, had installed equipment designed to absorb and transform the distinctive odor released by the pot cultivation.

The agents also seized 43 kilograms of vacuum-packed marijuana divided into packets of 500 grams in preparation for distribution, as well as a van with British registry equipped with false flooring under which the drug could be transported.

Initial inquiries found that the marijuana grown on the farm was possibly being shipped to Holland and Belgium.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Dania Ramirez Says Acting Mirrors Real Life in Dominican Republic

Dania Ramirez Says Acting Mirrors Real Life in Dominican Republic

Photo: Dania Ramirez

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Dania Ramirez, one of the stars of the film “American Reunion,” says that her experiences growing up poor in the Dominican Republic help her develop her characters in movies and on television.

“I’ve had a life of many adventures, a hard life but good at the same time, and all that helps me because to be honest I can identify with every character I play,” said the actress, who plays Selena Vega in “American Reunion,” in which characters from the successful comedy “American Pie” meet up again 10 years later.

Ramirez said that having had a hard life doesn’t “make me cry,” but rather “I use it to forge ahead.”

The 32-year-old actress and model recalled, during an interview with Efe, that she grew up living with her grandmother in a poor household where they didn’t even have television.

Like many Dominican emigrants, 6-month-old Dania’s parents left her in the care of her grandma when they left for the United States and she was nearly 10 years old by the time she joined them in New York.

Ramirez told Efe that deep down inside she is still the little girl who in her own country dreamed of being an actress: “I think the best actors have had many experiences in life. I’m still that girl who loved climbing trees and running around with all the little boys. If it weren’t for that little girl I wouldn’t be the success I am today.”

“I want to keep opening doors for Latinos in Hollywood,” said the Dominican, who in 2009 was the model for Cover Girl cosmetics and who has appeared in television series such as “The Sopranos,” “Entourage” and “Heroes.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Does Easter Island Hold Keys to Solving Alzheimer?

Does Easter Island Hold Keys to Solving Alzheimer?

Photo: Easter Island and Alzheimers

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Researchers are wondering if Easter Island holds the keys to solving the mysteries of Alzheimer’s due in great part to the ‘rapamycin’ bacteria found there.

Easter Island is a World Heritage Site and known for the 900 famous monolithic heads known as ‘moai’.  It was a special territory of Chile that was annexed in 1888, lying approximately 2,180 miles west of this Latin America country.

According to a press release from the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center “Rapamycin, a bacterial product first isolated from soil on Easter Island, enhanced learning and memory in young mice and improved these faculties in old mice.”  Apparently the drug also lowered anxiety and depressive-like behavior in the mice.

Rapamycin is currently used as an antifungal agent administered to transplant patients to prevent organ rejection. The drug is named for Rapa Nui, the Polynesian title for Easter Island.

This study became available online June 28 as a manuscript in press in the journal Neuroscience.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Elizabeth DeMaria Leaps 35-Feet Down to Her Death, Trying to Avoid Being Arrested

Elizabeth DeMaria Leaps 35-Feet Down to Her Death, Trying to Avoid Being Arrested

Photo: Las Vegas Police Mugshot - Elizabeth DeMaria

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Elizabeth DeMaria leapt to her death from the MGM Grand some 35-feet down as local police were trying to serve her with a bench warrant for missing a court date on multiple fraud and theft charges.

The 46-old-woman was accused of taking investor money and lining her pockets instead of launching a Las Vegas television channel, as promised.  Back in March of 2010 DeMaria was charged with 11 counts of fraud and 11 counts of theft for $200,000 of misappropriated investor money. 

The court expected her to appear this past May 10th but she never showed up.

Apparently DeMaria was using the alias Lisa Victoria and living it up at the MGM Grand since May 10th.  Las Vegas police eventually tracked her to the MGM Grand and knocked on her door and when she didn’t answer they forced the door.

As authorities entered they saw DeMaria throw her computer out the balcony and then throw herself to her death some 35-feet below.  Authorities believe DeMaria was very aware of the trouble she was in, they discovered “disparaging blogs about witnesses related to her criminal prosecution” according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Read more by HS News Staff →

REPORT:  Analyzing Hispanic Metropolitan Unemployment Rates in 2011

REPORT:  Analyzing Hispanic Metropolitan Unemployment Rates in 2011

Photo: Latino Unemployment 2011

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Hispanics in many of the nation’s large metropolitan areas continued to experience high unemployment levels in 2011., with the nationwide Hispanic rate at 11.5 percent.

Seventeen of the 25 metros, however, examined by the Economic Policy Institute had Hispanic unemployment rates substantially above 10 percent.

With a Hispanic unemployment rate of 23.3 percent, the Providence, Rhode Island metro area had the highest rate followed by Orlando, Florida and Las Vegas, Nevada at 16.6 percent.  Sixteen additional metro areas achieved unemployment rates higher than 10 percent in 2012 from 2011. 

America’s metropolitan areas need more economic stimulus programs, particularly infrastructure investments and aid to state and local governments says the Institute.  They noted that “There is broad agreement among economists that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act worked; the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the act created over three million jobs.”

The Institute also noted that Hispanics, who are overrepresented in the construction industry (Pew Hispanic Center 2012), would benefit especially from infrastructure investments that put construction workers back to work.

The lowest Hispanic unemployment rate in 2011 was found in the Washington, D.C. metro area at 5.9%. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Ronstadt Generations “America, Our Home,” Collection of Patriotic Songs Expressing Latino Pride

Ronstadt Generations  “America, Our Home,” Collection of Patriotic Songs Expressing Latino Pride

Photo: Ronstadt Generations " America ,Our Home"

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“America, Our Home,” is a new collection of American patriotic songs recorded in Mexican musical styles by the group Ronstadt Generations to express the ongoing pride of the Latino community in the United States.

“Latinos have been an important part of this country for generations, with a long history of patriotic service that extends to today, when many immigrants undertake military and other public service out of devotion to the United States,” stated Thomas A. Saenz, President and General Counsel of MALDEF.  Saenz notes that the release comes during a time when too many pundits and politicians seek to demonize Latinos despite their longstanding loyalty to this country.  “This innovative collection musically demonstrates that Latinos are among those who regularly defend our nation from those who would undermine our Constitution and our nation,” said Saenz.

The songs on “America, Our Home,” all performed in English, include “America the Beautiful,” “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “This Land is Your Land.” 

The original arrangements include musical styles such as bolero, cumbia and son jarocho, which use traditional Mexican instruments such as the 12-string bajo sexto guitar, the Mexican harp, the jarana guitar that resembles a ukelele, and the percussion instrument quijada de burro made from a donkey’s jaw.  Those instruments were combined with cello, bass, acoustic guitar and saxophone to create a unique style and sound for the recordings.

To listen to excerpts from the EP, go to www.ronstadtgenerations.com/#!audio/cemg.  The music will be available for digital download starting July 3 at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/RonstadtGenerations, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting MALDEF.

The song arrangements were developed under the musical leadership of Michael J. Ronstadt, the younger brother of famed recording artist Linda Ronstadt, whose “Canciones de mi Padre” collection of mariachi music became the biggest selling non-English album in recording history.  He brought together a group of musicians to collaborate on the songs, which were arranged and recorded in just four days in Tucson, Arizona.  Playing a key role in the arrangements was Francisco Gonzalez, a co-founder of the band Los Lobos, the former musical director of Teatro Campesino, and an internationally known string musician specializing in the Mexican harp.

“These are truly original interpretations of American patriotic music that reflect the multicultural roots of my family and of this country,” said Michael Ronstadt, who performs with his sons Michael G. and Petie as the Tucson-based folk group Ronstadt Generations.  “We’re thrilled to partner with MALDEF on this unique project that expresses our pride in America as well as honors our Mexican ancestry.”


Figueroa was raised in in the agricultural city of Yuma, Arizona (where civil rights leader Cesar Chavez was born and died).  He was part of a high school “show choir” called the Yuma High Choralairs, and traveled with the choir upon invitation for performance at the White House, at the Arizona State Capitol, and at music festivals to perform pop-style interpretations of American patriotic music.  Figueroa’s high school singing partner was Mary Lou Fulton, who also joined in developing “America, Our Home.”

“My mom is a Mexican immigrant and is the most patriotic person I know.  Her closet is filled with t-shirts, tote bags and other gear bearing the American flag.  She didn’t speak a word of English when she immigrated.  But she went on to become an American citizen, earn three college degrees, raise two kids, work as a school teacher for 30 years, and teach her students to have pride in our country,” stated Fulton.

Figueroa added, “I was a Mexican-American kid raised in a border town to believe that the American Dream was attainable for all who were willing to work hard for it.  My dad served in the military.  Three of my most valued possessions are his dog tags, his election official pin, and the American flag that draped his coffin.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Rio de Janeiro Named to Prestigious World Heritage List

Rio de Janeiro Named to Prestigious World Heritage List

Photo: Rio de Janeiro on World Heritage List

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The landscapes of Rio de Janeiro have been entered onto the World Heritage List, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization said.

The decision regarding the Brazilian city was adopted by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in Russia’s second-largest city.

Rio de Janeiro, Carioca Landscapes between the Mountain and the Sea was the only Latin American site aspiring to be included on the list at the current meeting.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said that the UNESCO designation was a “reason for pride for all of Brazil” and an incentive to continue with Rio’s “revitalization.”

In a communique the head of state added that the designation comes at a time when the city has proven that it has “management competence and capacity to host important national and international events,” including the recent U.N. conference on sustainable development.

In addition, she noted that Rio will be one of the sites for the 2014 soccer World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

The UNESCO panel, which is tasked with ensuring fulfillment of the tenets enshrined in the 1972 World Heritage Convention, is made up of representatives of 21 countries elected by the signatory nations.

At the beginning of the 36th session of the Committee, which will last until July 6, the World Heritage List included 725 sites in 153 countries.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Archeaological Riches Dating Back from 600 to 1000 AD Found in Peru

Archeaological Riches Dating Back from 600 to 1000 AD Found in Peru

Photo: Regional de Cultura de Ayacucho

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A sundial, ancient relics and an underground tunnel believed to be from the Wari civilization of Peru has been discovered in the Ayacucho region of the country.  Ayacucho, Peru holds one of the most spectacular ancient landmarks in the country - the Wari Archaelogical Complex (Complejo Arqueologico Wari).

The Wari civilization dates back from 600 to 1000 AD and flourished in what is now the coastal areas of Peru.  Other Wari ruins have been discovered in the country in the cities of Chiclayo and Moquegua.

The discover was made by San Cristobal de Huamanga National University archeologists working in this antiquities rich area which was originally discovered in 1931.  One of the relics found is believed to be a precursor to an Incan sundial while mummies are also believed to be in the area behind some of the wall markings found.

Read more by HS News Staff →

New Mexico Law Now Protects Homegrown Chiles from Foreign ‘Chile’ Invaders

New Mexico Law Now Protects Homegrown Chiles from Foreign ‘Chile’ Invaders

Photo: New Mexico Chile Pepper to be Protected

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Note Correction as Provided by:  Katie Goetz, Public Information Officer at New Mexico Department of Agriculture.  The program is being supervised by New Mexico Department of Agriculture not the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  There is also a correction in the number of chiles grow in New Mexico annually, in 2010 it was 67,000 tons. 

As of this Sunday any chile not grown in New Mexico cannot advertise itself as a ‘New Mexico chile’.  The ‘New Mexico Chile Advertising Act’ will be monitored by the U.S. Agriculture department to ensure all chile’s labeled ‘New Mexico chile’ are indeed New Mexican.

The law was put in place it great part to defend local growers from Latin American chiles.  Local growers have complained that restaurants and retailers are selling ‘New Mexican chiles’ though they are in fact imports.

The chile pepper is the state’s staple agricultural product much like potatoes are to Idaho.  More than 72,000 tons of chiles are grown in New Mexico annually.

The law was signed by Governor Susana Martinez in 2011 and went into effective this past Sunday.  This law does not product the other very popular New Mexico-grown pepper - the jalapeño.

Read more by HS News Staff →

45-Year-Old Dara Torres Out of Record 6th Olympics by Nine-Hundredths of A Second

45-Year-Old Dara Torres Out of Record 6th Olympics by Nine-Hundredths of A Second

Photo: Dara Torres out of Olympics

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12-time Olympic winning swimmer, Dara Torres failed to qualify for the 2016 London Olympics by nine-hundredths of a second in the 50-meter freestyle.

The 45-year-old swimmer last competed in Beijing in 2008 becoming the oldest swimmer to compete in the Olympics; she won three silver medals there.  This would have been her 6th Olympic Games.  Torres is tied with Jenny Thompson as the most decorated U.S. female swimmer.

After a 16 month hiatus, due to knee surgery, Torres qualified to go to the 2012 Olympic time trials at the Missouri Grand Prix, by swimming a time of 25.9 seconds in the 50-meter freestyle preliminaries.  Torres had not swam competitively for close to two years and many were not sure she would be able to return.

“You can quote me. There is no more (after 2012). I’m done.”  49 year-old Olympic swimmer Dara Torres said after finding out she made the cut for the 2012 London games.  Now she is officially done and the sport is better for having had her as a top competitor for many years.

Torres, when not in the pool, is also a sports commentator, motivational speaker and author, her second book ”Gold Medal Fitness: A Revolutionary 5-Week Program” was released in 2010.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Photojournalist Who was Eyewitness to Police Crimes Assasinated in Ecuador

Photojournalist Who was Eyewitness to Police Crimes Assasinated in Ecuador

Photo: Body of Photojournalist Byron Baldeon Shot to Death

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Two assailants fatally shot an Ecuadorian photojournalist who witnessed a theft in which police are the main suspects, Extra newspaper said Monday.

Byron Baldeon, 31, was killed Sunday evening, Extra managing editor Juan Manuel Yepez told Efe.

Witnesses said Baldeon was shot by two men on a motorcycle as he arrived at his home in El Triunfo, 61 kilometers from the coastal metropolis of Guayaquil, according to a statement from the organization Fundamedios.

An autopsy showed the freelance photographer was shot nine times at close range, Extra editor-in-chief Henry Holguin said.

Yepez said Baldeon had been subpoenaed by prosecutors in connection with a photo he took of the theft of a container-load of televisions.

Three police officers and two civilians were arrested in May, in Ecuador, on suspicion of carrying out the heist, Fundamedios noted.

The Extra managing editor stressed that there was nothing to confirm any connection between the theft and Baldeon’s murder.

“It would be speculating for me to venture to say it was because of that, and I couldn’t say that,” Yepez insisted.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Remittances to Mexico Rise by 7.8 Percent in May to $2.34 Billion

Remittances to Mexico Rise by 7.8 Percent in May to $2.34 Billion

Photo: Remittances to Mexico, 2012

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Remittances from Mexicans living abroad climbed 7.8 percent in May compared with the same month in 2011, the central bank said Monday.

Last month’s total was $2.34 billion, above the $2.17 billion registered in May 2011.

In May, there were 7,096 transactions, 3.97 percent more than in May 2011, when there were 6,825.

Mexico’s central bank said that in May the amount of the remittances received increased by 15.32 percent over April, when $2.03 billion had been received.

The average size of the cash transfers to Mexico was $329.21, 3.7 percent larger than the $317.38 that was sent in each transaction in May 2011.

Remittances are Mexico’s second-largest source of foreign exchange and help cover the living expenses of millions of households.

Most of the remittances are sent from the United States, where an estimated 12 million Mexicans live, about half of them undocumented migrants.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Will Ten-Year-Old Mariachi Win it All in “America’s Got Talent”?

Will Ten-Year-Old Mariachi Win it All in “America’s Got Talent”?

Photo: Sebastian de la Cruz on America's Got Talent

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Ten-year-old Sebastian De La Cruz, a San Antonio native, has made it one step closer to victory after impressing the judges on ‘America’s Got Talent’ this last week.  De La Cruz will be headed to the live show in New York (actually the New Jersey Performing Arts Center) along with the other 48 selected participants, with the first group performing last night.

According to the show “De La Cruz, is the lead singer of a live mariachi group. Performing for more than five years, Sebastian’s act includes mariachi and folklore dancers. With his performance on America’s Got Talent, he hopes to show America what mariachi music is all about. In addition to singing, Sebastian loves basketball, Marilyn Monroe, skating, playing jokes and magic.”

‘El Charro de Oro’ is the first mariachi singer on the show.  Judges have been amazed by the talent of this young singer since his audition in Austin back in June.  Sharon Osborne, a judge on the show, said she was amazed that such a large voice could come out of such a small boy. 

De La Cruz was quoted by NBC during his first audition saying, “My whole family, they love music, I just love my family, they give me the music and what I do.”

Although De La Cruz is headed to New York for the first round of the quarter-finals, things came to an end on the show for another Latino favorite, father daughter duo Jorge and Alexa Narvaez.  Although they impressed judges during their Los Angeles auditions they were sent home. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Help Central America Preserve the Carey Turtle by Adopting One

Help Central America Preserve the Carey Turtle by Adopting One

Photo: Help Costa Rica Save Carey Turtles

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Pretoma, a Costa Rican nonprofit organization, has been tracking Carey turtles via satellite in Guanacaste since 2010.  Since then, more than 15 turtles have been marked and followed with this technology.  As a result, researchers have identified the main food source of these turtles to be sea sponges and determined that many turtles live on the rocky reefs for long periods of time. 

Pretoma’s, or the Programa Restauración de Tortugas Marinas, which was founded in 1997, main goal is to protect the ocean’s resources as well as to promote sustainable fisheries in Costa Rica and throughout Central America.  Information gathered in this Carey turtle surveillance, has helped to protect the species by locating areas that need to be protected from things such as harmful fishing gear. 

In 2011, a Sirenuse Carey Turtle was marked with a satellite transmitter in the Biologic Reserve in Cabo Blanco.  They tracked this turtle there for 252 days, which revealed that this type of turtle is an inhabitant of Cabo Blanco even though they travel much further out to sea.  In 2012, Pretoma hopes to track two more Carey turtles via satellite in order to monitor movements and help with the protection of this species. 

If you are interested in donating $2,000 to Pretoma, you will have the opportunity to ‘adopt’ one of these amazing sea turtles.  Through this ‘adoption,’ you will be able to name your turtle as well as watch the live satellite tracking.  You will also receive a framed photograph of your new turtle, a certificate, and also a turtle necklace.  The donation of $2,000 will be used to purchase the satellite mark which is placed in the turtle.

Read more by HS News Staff →



TuesdayJuly 3, 2012