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SEA TURTLES

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Program Area

WILDCOAST works in the coast of Oaxaca, in areas that include Morro Ayuta and Barra de la Cruz. This region is a key area for sea turtle conservation and forms an ecological continuum of the Copalita-Zimatán-Huatulco-Manialtepec priority areas, which is an important region for community base conservation.

 

The coast of Oaxaca is one of the most diverse regions of Mexico and is globally recognized for its beaches where four out of seven endangered species of sea turtles nest. Species of sea turtles that inhabit and nest in this area include the green (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), and olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) sea turtle.  In addition, the area is recognized as a land and marine priority area at the national level due to the presence of unique endemic species, its reef formations, and, species diversity. 

 

The coast of Oaxaca is also unique because of the “arribada”, a phenomenon where over tens of thousands of  sea turtles come to nest at the same time. Two of the 12 beaches in the world that presents this phenomenon are in this region,  these beaches are La Escobilla and Morro Ayuta.

Conservation Strategies

 

 WILDCOAST has an office in Huatulco, Oaxaca, close to the most important sea turtle nesting beaches.  Since 2010, WILDCOAST has worked in Oaxaca to conserve these endangered species from major threats that include the illegal harvest of their meat and eggs, habitat destruction, accidental by-catch, and pollution. Our conservation strategies include:

 

  • Conservation Training: Facilitate training workshops to people that are directly managing the conservation of Oaxaca’s natural resources.
  • Environmental Education: Educate coastal communities on sea turtle conservation issues and threats ((illegal market for turtle eggs, poor fishing practices, inadequate management of solid waste, etc.).
  • Ecosystem Protection: Conserving important nesting beach through conservation concessions in partnership with CONANP.

 

YOU CAN TAKE ACTION 

Practical steps you can take to protect and preserve sea turtles.

  • DON'T EAT SEA TURTLE MEAT OR EGGS.

If you live in Mexico, call 01800-7703372 to report the illegal trade of sea turtle products to the environmental ministry enforcement.

  • Don't pollute the oceans! Sea turtles often mistake plastic bags for food and the plastic can block the digestive tract, leading them to eventually starved to death. Additionally, marine wildlife can become tangled in plastic bands, six-pack rings or other plastic trash. If the animals become tangled, they use a lot of energy trying to get free and may become sick, weak or even die. 
  • Support good eco-tourism practices when visit nesting beaches or sea turtle habitats.
  • DONATE! Help us continue our efforts to save these very biologically important species that are in grave danger. 

Impact

It is hard to overstate the importance of Oaxaca’s stunning beaches to the long-term survival of sea turtles. In 2015, over 620,519 sea turtles nested on protected beaches in Oaxaca. More than 18 million sea turtle hatchlings emerged from their nests in one of the greatest wildlife spectacles on earth.

Thanks to our conservation in efforts we:   

  • Supported the Morro Ayuta sea turtle camp where over 620,500 olive sea turtles nested and 18.6 million hatched in 2015.
  • Trained 23 sea turtle camp members on proper oil respond for wildlife.
  • Designed Mexico’s first plan for immediate oil spill responds and distributed in sea turtle camps across the coast of Oaxaca.
  • Educated over 231children from indigenous coastal communities (Rio Seco, Playa Grande, Barra de la Cruz and Mazunte) on sea turtle conservation.
  • Supported and trained the Chontal and Zapoteca indigenous communities to demand the Mexican government to clean their beaches (many nesting beaches) immediately after an oil spill.  
  • In 2017, we’ll expand our efforts to preserve the vulnerable coastal and marine ecosystems and wildlife of southern Oaxaca. In collaboration with local authorities, we’ll help to develop an ecological zoning plan for the area around Huatulco National Park and we’ll continue our efforts to preserve Oaxaca’s sea turtle habitats and nesting beaches.

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