July Billion Baby Turtles Update

We’re continuing with our record-breaking year for saving hatchlings through our Billion Baby Turtles program! July was another very busy month with 11 new grants to 10 organizations working in 8 countries. We provided a total of $59,000 in grants that will protect an estimated 580,000 hatchlings at these beaches. Many of these grants were due to the tremendous support from our recent collaboration with SodaStream. That brings out total for the year to more than 2 million hatchlings saved.

Sea Turtle Conservancy, Bastimentos Island, Panama 

After more than 20 years of sea turtle research in Bocas del Toro Province, Anne and Peter Meylan formed a partnership with STC in 2003 to monitor increasing nesting by hawksbills along the Bocas coast. The area of work by the Meylans has been three important nesting beaches: Small Zapatilla Cay, Big Zapatilla Cay, and Playa Larga, are part of the Bastimentos Island National Marine Park. Billion Baby Turtles funds primarily support monitors on Playa Larga but also supported monitoring efforts on the Zapatilla Cays and weekly surveys on 11 km of beach adjacent to Playa Larga. Billion Baby Turtles supported this project with US $5,000 this season, helping to save an estimated 20,000 hatchlings this season.

Photo: Peter Meylan

Turtle Foundation, Sipora, Berau, and Selaut Besar, Indonesia

On the island of Sipora in West Sumatra, part of the Mentawai Islands, in autumn 2017, a completely unknown nesting 8 km beach of the endangered leatherback turtle was discovered: Buggeisiata. During decades the local community used to hunt nesting females and take the eggs for their consumption. With these practices the number of nesting females has decimated, but since Turtle Foundation is protecting this beach, the local community has respected the life of nesting females. By the end of March 2022 they protected 29 leatherback nests, 7 green turtles and 4 olive ridleys. With US $3,000, SEE Turtles supported this project which will save an estimated 500 hatchlings.

The Derawan Archipielago in the district of Berau, East Borneo, is located in the famous Coral Triangle, making it part of one of the most biodiverse marine areas. It also is one of the most important nesting sites for green turtles. In 2019 Turtle Foundation started their conservation efforts on Belambangan island and by the end of 2020 they extended their activities to the neighboring island of Sambit. All this work had led to a virtual complete decline of illegal collection for the first time in those islands, where turtle nests are now able to develop undisturbed. With US$ 10,000 Billion Baby Turtles supported this project, helping to save an estimated more than 52,000 hatchlings of three species. 

Selaut Besar is an important nesting site for green turtles in Sumatra. With a significant peak in September, they had more than 600 nests in the first year. Furthermore, leatherbacks turtles also nest on the island (22 nests). Lastly, the island is also sporadically visited by hawksbill turtles, so a total of three species of sea turtles nest on this unique island. Billion Baby Turtles is supporting this new project with US$ 10,000 for this upcoming season, helping save more than 13,000 hatchlings. 

Photo: Turtle Foundation

Ayotlcalli, Guerrero, Mexico

Campamento Tortuguero Ayotlcalli was founded in September of 2011 with the purpose of protecting three species of sea turtles that nest along 15 kilometers of beaches that include Playa Blanca, Playa Larga, and Barra de Potosi near Zihuatanejo. This nonprofit organization works with the assistance of several local and international volunteers who perform various activities such as night patrols searching for nests, relocating the eggs into the hatchery, and releasing into their vast new home. Billion Baby Turtles supported Ayotlcalli with US $3,000, helping to protect about 8,500 hatchling of the 3 different species that nest on these beaches (olive ridleys, leatherbacks, and black turtles).

Reef Guardians, Lankayan Island, Malaysia 

Since 2004, this project has protected hawksbill and green turtles nesting on Lankayan Island, in Malaysia. Since then, the annual nesting increased gradually from 138 nests in 2004 to 833 in 2021. In the last season, they protected 726 nests of greens and 107 nests of hawksbill turtles. In 2021, nesting recorded the 2nd highest total for the last 21 years. A total of 74,506 eggs were incubated for both species with a total of 59,863 hatchlings helped to the sea. With US $3,000, Billion Baby Turtles supported this upcoming season, helping save about 3,100 hatchlings. 

SOS Nicaragua  

Since 2019, Sos Nicaragua has been independently implementing conservation efforts on the island of Los Brasiles, starting a sea turtle protection program that extends to all recorded nesting species. The average number of nests protected annually usually exceeds 100, mostly nests of olive ridley turtles. Billion Baby Turtles support this project with US $2,000 this year which will help save about 1,400 hatchlings. 

Fundação Tartaruga, Boa Vista, Cabo Verde               

The Turtle Foundation has been active on Boa Vista since 2008, initially as a project and in 2021 Fundação Tartaruga, was created as a non-governmental organization registered under Cabo Verdean law. Through their protection programs, the total number of turtles killed has been drastically reduced year after year. Monitoring of the nesting beaches is conducted by local rangers and volunteers, but also with innovative methods such as the use of drones. Last season they protected a total of 20,660 nests and helped save more than 1 million baby turtles. Billion Baby Turtles is supporting this program with US $10,000 for this season, which will help save about 28,500 hatchlings.

Everlasting Nature,  Kimar Island, Indonesia    

This organization helps protect hawksbill turtle to help the recovery of this population, which has been devastated by the tortoiseshell trade. This island used to have a big problem with illegal egg collecting, this is the main reason for the establishment of this project. Everlasting Nature hires local people as “egg guardians,” walking the beach every morning and collecting nesting data. They conduct this this project with Indonesia Sea Turtle Research Foundation (Yayasan Penyu Laut Indonesia/ YPLI) as partner. Our Billion Baby Turtle program supported them with US$ 5,000 for this season, protecting an estimated 14,000 hatchlings.

Photo: Everlasting Nature

Guanacaste Dry Forest Conservation Fund, Costa Rica 

Playa Nancite is the second most important nesting site for olive ridley sea turtles in Costa Rica. The arribadas of these turtles generally result in between 20,000 and 116,000 nests each year. Green turtles also nest at Nancite, but in much smaller numbers. Turtle biologist Luis Fonseca has been studying the sea turtles of this area for more than a decade. He has expanded his research to cover the prey/predator phenomenon between nesting sea turtles and jaguar population, the first beach where such interactions have been extensively documented. With US$ 3,000 SEE Turtles supported this important beach that will help protect approximately 430,000 hatchlings.

Conservation des Espèces Marines, Grand-Béréby, Ivory Coast     

Conservation des Espèces Marines (CEM) has been active for more than a decade in sea turtle protection activities, focusing on approximately 30 km of beaches west of Grand-Béréby. CEM is a local nonprofit association of Ivory Coast and it is composed almost entirely by members of local communities. Three sea turtle species nest on the beach West of Grand Béréby: leatherbacks, with up to 200 nests every season, olive ridleys, with up to 650 nests every season, and green turtles, with up to 50 nests every season. Billion Baby Turtles is supporting this organization for the first time this year with US $5,000 to help protect an estimated 10,000 hatchlings.