Oscar Saul Aranda Mena
A Biologist by profession, a naturalist by conviction, Oscar Aranda Mena was born on June 6th of 1974 in the city of Leon, in the State of Guanajuato, Mexico.
Fortunate to have a nature-loving family, he had the opportunity to travel around entire Mexico since a child, always camping in remote places that were not very well-known. He remained obstinately in wild conditions, like ancient man, but later submitted to his parents more domesticated demands, as is the universal rule.
Since his early years, Oscar was very interested in nature, especially for those animals that his mom feared and had forbidden him to take them home; such things as reptiles, rodents and all kinds of repulsive animals.
Nevertheless, he brought home as many animals as he found in his way, and doesn’t deny that many of those animals were fortunate to cross his path.
With a happy life, although a little lonely, young Oscar found in nature a profound manner in which to carry out his games, dreams and adventures. Little by little, he was achieving his parents’ acceptance that his destiny was determined.
During his younger years, he collected and saved all kinds of animals, a practice that stayed with him even while attending university. There was no university biology program at that time within the state of Guanajuato, so Oscar moved to Guadalajara.
He studied Biology at the University of Guadalajara. During these studies, he had the opportunity to travel and he became acquainted with Mexico’s many natural environments. He discovered that his real passion was the sea (although, he still never neglects the opportunity to get into the forest, or an abandoned area to see what kind of bugs he can find). He moved to Puerto Vallarta where he completed his specialization in Marine Biology in 1999.
His thesis involved a thorough study of reef fish in Banderas Bay. He dived in various locations of Banderas Bay and discovered unreported species for the area. He further studied the complexity of the relationships among all the organisms of the reefs.
However, destiny had a different plan marine biology for him. He began to work with marine turtles, and from early in this work, his passion for these poorly understood creatures took captivated him.
From 2000 to 2012, Oscar was responsible for the protection of nesting turtles and their eggs on Puerto Vallarta’s entire southern Banderas Bay coastline. Oscar, sometimes with the help of volunteers, searched for nesting turtles during his all night summer patrols of Puerto Vallarta’s beaches.
When he finds a turtle laying her eggs, he stands by and protects her from disturbances. When she is finished, he carefully takes the eggs to a nursery where they are reburied and protected from poachers and predators. When they hatch, Oscar takes them to be released on the beach. He often involves school children and/or tourists and uses these opportunities to educate them about the turtles’ plight. He is also responsible for advising hotels on how to best manage their adjacent beaches for the turtles’ benefit.
During the winter season (December to March), when the marine turtles are all gone from here, he devotes his work to the Humpback Whales, participating in research (photo-identification) and specialized whale-watching tours. He has done this since 2002.
In between these activities, Oscar has written many popular science articles, children’s stories, and has conducted many other educational activities. He has also participated in international and national documentaries and reports about marine turtles and their conservation. He uses his free time to learn more about nature, doing his own research, creating the first Photo-Identification method for Olive Ridley turtles, using a combination of marks in their heads and shells.
Currently Oscar is retired from the night patroling and collecting eggs, but is always keen to share his passion and love for sea turtles with tourists and visitors…
Interested? Send him an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org