This project will support El Salvador's only women-run sea turtle egg hatchery, the AMBAS hatchery in Barra de Santiago, to rescue 60,000 sea turtle eggs and support the sustainable livelihoods of former poachers. Involving community members, especially women and former poachers, in the decision-making process and encouraging participation in conservation activities increases environmental awareness, creates a sense of ownership over the resource, and ensures more sustainable outcomes.
Sea turtle populations in El Salvador are in danger. Facing overwhelming pressure from the illegal egg trade, destructive fishing practices, habitat loss, and a lack of environmental education, sea turtles found in Central and South American waters are on the verge of extinction. Sea turtle populations and their habitats face continued threats from climate change, deforestation, pollution, unregulated development, large-scale agricultural development, and over-exploitation of natural resources.
This project will work to mitigate the threats to coastal communities in El Salvador. We will increase local capacity and attitudes toward conservation, as well as improve incentives for communities to protect the natural habitat they rely on for long-term survival by directly engaging former sea turtle egg poachers in the conservation of resident sea turtle populations and providing access to alternative livelihoods.
Sea turtles are considered keystone species, a species which an ecosystem depends on to maintain a proper biological balance. They help maintain biodiversity, improve nutrient-cycling processes, and provide food for ocean fauna. By protecting sea turtles, we can improve the environments vital to life in El Salvador. In addition, this project builds the capacity of the community, including youth, former poachers, and women as they participate in sea turtle conservation.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).