Mexico's most famous masked man, champion lucha libre wrestler El Hijo del Santo, has a thing for turtles. As the 2007 spokesman for San Diego-based conservation group Costasalvaje/Wildcoast, he's caressed their shells (yes, he wore the maskalways!) and patrolled beaches for egg thieves. PATRICK SYMMES rang El Santo at a Mexico City gym, where
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El Hijo del Santo
EL SANTO: I’m a fortunate man. Life has given me beautiful things: Work I love… fame… money. In some manner, you have to give back.
But a wrestler as turtle spokesman?
My image is partly that of a superhero. Compared with other superheroes to Batman, the Man of Spiders, or Superman I represent flesh and blood.
What’s the mission?
To defend Mexico’s seas. To protect turtles. Fewer than 1 percent survive to adulthood.
Do turtle eggs really make you how do you say erectile?
It’s a myth. Men consume eggs for potency, and then there’s a placebo effect, and so they say it’s the eggs.
Mexico isn’t exactly famous for ecological consciousness.
Behind me are many. There is potential.
Potential for what?
I am thinking of doing a wrestling show where Santo confronts the enemies of the sea other fighters dressed as the baddies. One is called Chupacaguas, the Turtle-Meat Sucker.
What did you think of Nacho Libre?
It’s the reality of lucha libre. Nacho passes through many problems. They hit him, humiliate him, pay him a low wage, and when he has a chance to triumph, he does.