New Scientist: Drugs, crime and a conservation crisis
Posted on Sep 1st, 2006
by Peter Aldhous
In the southern reaches of Mexico's Baja California peninsula, majestic cardon cacti stand sentry over the dusty red desert, which crumbles into the turquoise waters of the Gulf of California. But in this striking landscape, dark forces are at work.
Within an hour of leaving the airport at the resort of Loreto, our truck is flagged down at a checkpoint set up by federal agents. They include inspectors from the environment ministry searching for abalone and other illegally harvested wildlife. Calling the shots are members of the AFI - the Mexican equivalent of the FBI - clad in flak jackets and armed with semi-automatic rifles. They are looking for narcotics.
I am here with Wallace J. Nichols, a biologist with the California Academy of Sciences and The Ocean Conservancy, who since 1993 has studied endangered sea turtles off the Baja coasts and worked with local fishermen to reverse their decline. ...