Prior to this project about 85% of the sea turtle nests were being poached. Now, biologists, local and international volunteers patrol the beach to find the turtles nests and relocate them to a nursery were they are watched 24/7. Hatchlings are released immediately after being born. Environmental education and a rural tourism program are in place, including tourism dependent on turtle nesting activities, in order to generate awareness and help locals generate income from their natural heritage.
This beach used to receive four different species of sea turtle and an average of 10 turtles per night. However during the years prior to the project, 85% of the nests were being poached, bringing about the disappearance of three of the species that used to nest here and leaving the last species of sea turtle in a very precarious situation. Something needed to be done.
By patrolling the beach, three times a night, we believe that we will be able to have better control over this beach to discourage poachers. Once the turtle has laid the eggs, the biologists decide if the nest is in a safe place or if the eggs should be relocated to another location on the beach or into the nursery. The nursery is protected 24 hours a day, 7 days a week until the last egg hatches. This effort has helped to protect the local nesting turtle population from extinction.
In order to achieve long term sustainability of the project, the community has been directly involved in its development from the beginning. An environmental education program is in place. and the community is benefiting from job creation and increased income from ecotourism, which is dependent on the survival of the nesting turtle population. In order to manage the ecotourism initiative and provide support to the project, the community created the El Progreso Sea Turtle Conservation Associaton.
The biggest impact of this Project has been a change in the attitude of the community towards the sea turtles; there are many former egg poachers who are now protecting the sea turtles every night. - Erick Castillo, Local community member
Total Funding Received to Date: $11,908
Remaining Goal to be Funded: $8,092
Total Funding Goal: $20,000
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).