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Apr 27, 2018

Conservation 1, Illegal poching 0

More eggs arriving in the hatchery!
More eggs arriving in the hatchery!

The 2018 season is now in full swing, and we are expecting a peak year for leatherback nesting activities.

For this reason, we decided to recruit more  researh assistants to help us on the beach, and more local guides. haviing more collaborators means that we are now sending 5 or 6 patrols out every night - with much needed support from our international volunteers.

we have also discovered that some of the principal poachers in the village have found employment in the area - which is wonderful news, as they are now either too tired, or just do not need to be taking eggs to sell!

Beng able to cover more of the beach means that we are finally reaching more turtles before the poachers - and beiing able to save 80% of the nests on the beach.

As of April 23rd 2018, we have over 85 nests in the hatchery - and only 19 have been poached!

Of course, this is a reason to celebrate, but it is also important not to get complacnet. We are fast approaching peak nesting season, and this could bring unscrupulous poachers from other areas. 

We must continue this fight throughout the year - but as you can imagine, recruiting more assistants and local guides also has a higher cost for the organization. We still need the generosity of our donors to help with these costs - and to keep these figures consistent!

Jan 29, 2018

Let's make 2018 a success!

Hatchery training
Hatchery training

Protecting endangered species isnt just about working with the animal itself - much of our work is behind the scenes, monotonous, tedious, physically difficult and of course vital!

The start of the nesting season each year is often the most challenging for our on the ground team

When the hatchlings open the shell of the egg, the amniotic liquid spills onto the sand. This fluid is an excellent medium for the cultivation and development of micro-organisms such as fungus and bacteria, and it is also a means of attraction for flies, ants and cockroaches. Even when all shells are removed, the fluids filter through the sand, impregnating the área inside the hatchery and this can decrease the sanitary quality of the sand.

Therefore the hatcdhery needs to be constructed each year.

The hatchery site should not be within reach of high tides, vegetation roots or river erosion.  Also the site chosen, should reduce the time and distances of relocation, therefore reducing the risk of egg loss, and increase the percentage of success of egg incubation

The build the hatchery, we need to dig out over a metre deep of sand over an area of 20m x 30m, and disinfect this volume of sand. Once the sand is free of any contaminant, is is shovelled back into place, and then compacted correctly to resemble a natural nesting area.

This is a huge task - and the hatchery needs to be completed before the nesting season starts so that we can safely relocate the eggs.

In 2017, our hatchery was not ready until April - so this year, we need your help to ensure that the hatchery is ready before March and the peak nesting season! 

Our nocturnal patrols, as always will commence in mid February - the first turtle arrived in Pacuare in 2017 on 20th February. 

We are still struggling against the illegal egg trade in Pacuare - with just under 40% of successfully laid nests being poached in 2017 for local consumption or the black market. 

So please. if you can help us recruit more local guides, have more presence on the beach, with better equipment, we can drastically change this figure.

2018 is predicted to be a big nesting year - so we need all the helñp we can get at the start of the season!

Do you wish to help us on the ground? We need more volunteers to help our biologist and research assistants with the patrols too! 

Our volunteers working hard!
Our volunteers working hard!
nests incubating in the hatchery at sunrise
nests incubating in the hatchery at sunrise

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Nov 6, 2017

How your donations have helped the turtles!

Our turtle hatchery
Our turtle hatchery

In order to undertake our research on the leatherback turtles, there are several steps to take:

  • Follow a strict protocol set by the Ministry of the Environment
  • have dedicated staff, assistants and volunteers
  • have functioning, good quality equipment

As an organization we are committed to these steps, but the purchase of good quality equipment is always difficult when funds are limited.

Global giving donations have been a lifesaver this year. It is incredible how far donations can stretch - and this allows us to continue our important woork.

To assess the turtle populations, eachi ndividual that comes onto the beach to nest is tagged - in this way we can track her nesting movements and create a database  for all turtles that come to Pacuare beach to lay their eggs.

This year we managed to tag 72 new turtles - 32 leatherbacks, 35 green turtles and 5 Hawksbill  with metallic tags.

We also purchased new tag applicators. 

We also applied 18 PIT (Passive Integrated Transponder) tags to 18 leatherback adults, and bought three new scanners to detect these kinds of uninvasive tags. Unfortunately, high humidity levels, contant torrential rain, and sand , have affected these scanners, and two now need repairs.

Other purchases have been 200 biodegradable bags for egg collection. These bags will be use a maximum of three times, beng disinfected and sterilised after each use before we can no longer use them.  A new fence was constructed around the hatchery, and a new roof put on the hatchery hut. We also bought 4 new wheelbarrows, netting and meshing for the nests, three hatchery chairs for the volunteers, new callipers for measuring the baby turtles, and four new shovels.

In the station, your generosity went even further. We were able to repair and paint both boats, used to bring inecessary supplies into the station, and for ferrying volunteers in and out!  We rebuilt the fence around the station, and put security windows on all of the volunteer cabins.  We also replaced three doors and five locks.

At the beginning of the year the extremely high waves reached the water well, and after that the drinking water was salty. LAST decided to build a new water well to have fresh and drinkable water,  and more filters for the water were bought. 

The constant rain, the humidity, insects and changes of the level of the canal damaged the dock, and during 2017 season the dock was completely repaired for the security of the volunteers and LAST members.

A new water tower was alo constructed because when the station had lots of volunteers, the  water was never enough! We took advantage and we used  the lower part of the tower to  build a new storage room! 

So as you can see, even the smallest donations can make a huge difference to us,  and we can do so much thanks to all of our supporters!

new equipment for measuring turtles
new equipment for measuring turtles
necessary tools for hatchery construction
necessary tools for hatchery construction
The research station
The research station

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