Sea turtle projects around the world have been impacted by the pandemic. The loss of income and help covering nesting beaches from international volunteers and travelers with increased desperation for food and income is resulting in increased turtle egg collection and hunting. All funds donated after processing fees will go to this fund. We are able to save an average of 10 hatchlings for every dollar donated. Funds will support urgent needs in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Venezuela and elsewhere.
Six of seven species of sea turtles are threatened or endangered due to harvest of their eggs, hunting of their meat and shells, entanglement in fishing gear, and other threats. While collecting and selling eggs is illegal in most countries, many places still have a black market for the eggs and some local residents continue collecting them. The pandemic has only worsened this situation and we are receiving urgent appeals for help from community-based projects around the world.
When we protect nesting beaches and get hatchlings into the water, sea turtles can rebound. Our funds help local organizations hire local staff, benefitting the community and the turtles. Our funds also help build hatcheries to keep the nests safe and purchase important equipment. We work with more than 20 organizations around the world to protect the most vulnerable beaches. These funds will go to projects with urgent needs to help keep people on the nesting beaches.
Protecting sea turtles requires patience. It can take 20+ years for a beach to start seeing an increase in nesting after conservation efforts begin. But once they do, recovery can come quickly. Colola Beach, Mexico, one of our long-term partners, has increased from 500 nests in 1999 to more than 45,000 now. With our help, partners in El Salvador and Nicaragua have saved nearly all of the critically endangered hawksbill nests at two sites for the past 8 years.