Billion Baby Turtles Feb / March 2022 Update

We’re excited to start a new regular series of updates for our Billion Baby Turtles and Sea Turtles & Plastic programs. Check back early each month to read about results from our partner grants and new grants to help save sea turtles around the world!

February 2022 Billion Baby Turtles Reports:

Sea Turtle Conservancy: Soropta Beach ,Panama

STC protects leatherback and sporadic hawksbill and green turtles at this beach in the northern Caribbean. During the 2021 season (from March 1 to August 17) SCT recorded 1,484 leatherback nests on Soropta Beach, which is the highest nest count recorded here since the beginning of this program. They did 1033 hours of night patrols, recording 647 encounters with leatherbacks. The total hatchling production at Soropta Beach in 2021 was 19,569 (18,412 leatherbacks and 1,155 hawksbills).

Funding from Billion Baby Turtles was used to cover the expenses involved in implementing monitoring and protection activities throughout 2021, including salaries, food and housing costs for project staff; purchase field equipment, such as flipper tags, headlights and data books; and gas for the project boat, which was needed to transport staff and supplies to/from the field station. With US $4,000 SEE Turtles helped to protect  350 nests and almost 5,000 hatchlings with a cost of 81 cents each baby turtle. 

Leatherback hatchling from Soropta

Soropta Field Station

Latin America Sea Turtles- LAST: Cahuita Beach & Pacuare Beaches, Costa Rica

Since 2000 ANAI and LAST non-profit organizations have worked made uninterrupted efforts for the protection and conservation of nesting females and baby sea turtles in Cahuita Beach. During the last decade it was estimated that 90% of the nests at this beach were lost by wildlife predation, illegal egg collectors, poachers or washed out by the ocean. Cahuita’s nest population represents one of the highest numbers reported for Caribbean hawksbill turtles in Costa RicaCR. Thus the importance of the protection of this beach. In 2021, SEE Turtles supported this project with US $4,500 USD. During this season the project recovered 32 nests of hawksbill and one of green turtle, with a total of 4,943 eggs. After the incubation period they released a total of 3,645 baby turtles with a success rate of 73,74%. All of the hatchlings baby turtles were released to the ocean in front of Puerto Vargas area at Cahuita National Park (CNP).

At Pacuare Beach, From February to July 2021 LAST monitored and protected lLeatherback nests in Pacuare. In this region, the illegal egg collection, still continues as a common practice;, just this season 34% of the total nests were collected (76). In the 2021 season, SEE Turtles supported the Pacuare project with US$ 5,000. During this period, 224 nests were protected, either moving them to the hatchery or relocating them to safer areas. They had a success rate of 78% and they released a total of 9,704 leatherback baby turtles.

Grupo Ecologista Quelonios, Punta Xen, Mexico

Since 1992 Quelonios established a program for the protection and preservation of hawksbill turtles in Punta Xen, covering 30 kilometers of beaches in the coastal zone of Champotón. This is one of the most important beaches for this critically endangered species in Mexico. For the 2021 season, they protected a total of 1,783 nests and 238,963 eggs with a hatching success of 73% with a total of 173,495 hatchlings. With US$ 4,000, Billion Baby Turtles supported Quelonios to protect 80 nests and almost 8,000 baby turtles to get to the ocean. 

Quelonios Hatchery

Hawksbill hatchling from Quelonios

ProCosta, Bahía de Jiquilisco, El Salvador

ProCosta has been working in Bahía de Jiquilisco since 2008 protecting nesting hawksbills. Prior to the establishment of the project, 100% of the nests and even some adult turtles were illegally collected and locals were unaware of the importance of their communities for this species. This project brings monitoring to the beach, nests protection and social outreach for local communities. During the 2021 season the project staff and local hawksbill conservation networks monitored 42 km of nesting beaches for 300 days. There were 310 nests during the whole season, and 308 were protected, with a hatching success of 53%. These efforts helped  24,949 baby turtles to get to the ocean. There were also 200 local families involved and benefited from this program. Billion Baby Turtles supported this project with US$ 5,000. 

March 2022 Billion Baby Turtles Grant Reports

Barbados Sea Turtle Project: Barbados)

This program protects primarily especially hawksbills but also some leatherbacks and green turtles. For more than 25 years, this project has been involved in conservation of sea turtles that nest on Barbados through research, education, and public outreach as well as monitoring of nesting females, juveniles and hatchlings. SEE Turtles has supported this project since 2020. The total number of hawksbills recorded nesting in the 2021 nesting season (June to November) was 494. With a grant of US $3,000, SEE Turtles helped to protect 90 nests and 10,831 baby turtles, with a cost of 27 cents per hatchling saved. The project had an estimated more than 237,000 total hatchlings for the 2021 season. 

Reef Guardians: Lankayan Island, Malaysia (Reef Guardians)

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 2021. This year they protected 726 nests of greens and 107 nests of hawksbill turtles. In 2021, the organization 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 get  to the sea. With US $2,000, Billion Baby Turtles supported the protection of 60 nests and 4,000 baby turtles.

Ocean Foundation: Cuba, Guanahacabibes National Park, Cuba

Since 1998 the Ocean Foundation’s Cuba Marine Research and Conservation Program (CMRC) has built strong scientific collaboration and conservation programs between Cuba, the United States, and neighboring countries that share marine resources. Eight beaches are patrolled during the nesting and hatchling seasons (May to October) in Guanahacabibes Peninsula. As for green turtle nesting population, it is the second largest of the Cuban archipelago and also exhibits high levels of hatching success. During the 2021 season they registered 685 nests of gGreen turtles and 2 of hHawksbills and reported a very high hatchling success with 910.84%. However, many nests were lost due to environmental conditions. During this season SEE Turtles supported this organization with US $3,500, helping approximately 25,000 baby turtles to get to the ocean.

March 2022 New Billion Baby Turtles & Plastic Grants

Karumbé: La Coronilla, Uruguay

#Plastic Free Turtles will organize collaborative beach cleaning actions with the participation of coastal communities and local organizations of La Coronilla and Punta del Diablo (Rocha, Uruguay) for the removal of  plastic waste in coastal-maritime habitats in the area. These activities will be supported by the creation of environmental awareness and the empowerment of communities towards a circular and more sustainable economy. In addition, a systematic monitoring of the abundance and trend of aggregation of plastics within the Cerro Verde Marine Protected Area  will be implemented through the removal of plastic waste by the Karumbé team, along with the management and treatment of plastic waste originating in the organization's base camp. 

Once classified and cleaned, all of the collected waste will be transported for subsequent recycling by the company Plasticoin-Uruguay generating a virtual currency in exchange  for the total weight of waste delivered. This virtual currency will be reinvested in veterinary products and other supplies for the rehabilitation of sea turtles with problems of plastic intake (and other pathologies) in the rescue and rehabilitation center of Karumbé.  

Karumbe volunteers cleaning the beach in Uruguay

PROVITA: Paria Gulf, Venezuela

Near the estuary of the Orinoco River delta and the Paria Mountains National Park in Venezuela are several small beaches where leatherback and hawksbills sea turtle nests each year. The region in the early 2000’s century and before had a strong hunting pressure; the conservation project reduced that from 88% (in 2003) to 1% (2015) but since 2016 a lack of funds and habitat destruction has restarted the impact on the marine reptiles. This project’s goal for 2022 is to rescue a hundred nests, gather all the reproductive data from 5 main nesting beaches, and deter hunting through patrolling and transplanting nests to a secure hatchery in the town of Macuro.