Sea turtles have been visiting the beaches of Suriname since prehistory to lay their eggs. Some of the most significant sea turtle nesting beaches on the Atlantic coast of South America are found in Suriname. Sea turtles are globally at risk of extinction. And even though many in Suriname know this, some still poach and consume sea turtle eggs. As knowledge about the animals is not widespread, most people do not know that only 10 out of 1000 eggs will develop into adult sea turtles.
Unaware of the importance of sea turtles for the ocean and human health, people in Suriname continue to eat poached sea turtle eggs. Many have never seen a sea turtle, or know about the multiple threats these animals are facing. Nor do they know about the importance of the Surinamese beaches for these species. This lack of education and awareness combined with minimal research on these animals and their nesting habitat pose grave problems for the sea turtles.
We will educate students and the public on the importance of sea turtles and the threats they face through school sea turtle awareness sessions and beach cleanups. Volunteers and students can also participate in the fieldwork on the beach during the nesting season. They will learn how to collect data and thus help protect sea turtles and their eggs from different threats. All these participants will become turtle heroes and will have an active role in the entire process.
Through these awareness and capacity-building sessions, tools, and knowledge are handed down that help to create sea turtle heroes. These community heroes help protect the sea turtles and their nesting beaches by speaking up for the voiceless animals. Our collective goal is to increase the survival rates of the sea turtle nesting populations in Suriname. The data collected will be shared with the community and other countries to help protect sea turtles as a global community.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).