Over the last two months, our Billion Baby Turtles program provided 10 grants totaling US $35,000 to partners in four countries. These grants will help save more than a million hatchlings of ridleys, green, leatherbacks and hawksbill turtles. This brings the total for 2022 to 53 grants totaling $273,000, protecting an estimated 3 million baby turtles!
Universidad Michoacana, Michoacán, Mexico
Since 2013 SEE Turtles has supported this project located on the coast of Michoacán, Mexico. Colola is the most important beach for nesting black turtles, which are a different morphotype of green turtles in this area (very dark skin and different shape and color of carapace). The population of black turtles has been monitored systematically since 1981, from that date, the population declined dangerously 1980-1999 (between 100 and 500 nesting females). However, since 2000 the number of female black turtles has been increasing significantly and in this past season (2021) was a record with the highest nesting season ever recorded with more than 72,000 nests and an estimated 4,435,200 hatchlings. With US$ 10,000 Billion Baby Turtles helped to protect more than 750,000 baby black turtles!
This natural protected beach is one of the most important nesting sites for the leatherback turtle in Mexico. In the 1980s, Mexiquillo represented the most important nesting site of this species in the Pacific basin. However, the population of the Pacific leatherback has dramatically declined ever since. During the nesting season 2021-22, 92 leatherback nests were reported, from these 92 nests 4,504 leatherback hatchlings were protected and helped to get to the ocean. With US$ 5,000 SEE Turtles helped to protect almost 1,500 baby turtles.
Guanacaste Dry Forest, Nancite, 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 beach, but in much smaller numbers (between 20 and 65 nests per year). Turtle biologist Luis Fonseca has been studying the sea turtles of this area for more than a decade. His sea turtle monitoring project is integral to understanding population trends over time and in designing management and conservation actions that promote the recovery of sea turtle populations in this part of Costa Rica. He has also expanded his research to cover the prey/predator phenomenon between nesting sea turtles and jaguar population at Nancite beach, the first beach where such interactions have been extensively documented. Fonseca’s research has shown that the number of turtles eaten by jaguars has little effect on the overall population of olive ridleys and that the turtles are an important food source for animals of higher trophic level, such as jaguars, crocodiles, mountain lions, and birds. With a second grant this year of US$ 2,000 SEE Turtles supported the protection of 285,000 baby turtles.
Kutzari, Guerrero, Mexico
Kutzari has worked since 2003 in the protection of leatherback turtles on the Pacific coast of Mexico. In partnership with SEE Turtles they are supporting the protection of leatherback nests in secondary beaches (“Priority 2 beaches”) in the Mexican Pacific. These beaches are patrolled by different local community groups interested in the protection of sea turtles, but their efforts are intermittent since they have not been able to secure consistent funding. With the financial support and technical advisory on part of Kutzari’s biologists, these groups are now focused on the protection of nesting leatherback in these beaches. Although not as numerous as index beaches, they are significant given the critical condition of the population. With US$ 3,000 Billion Baby turtles help to protect more than 1,100 baby leatherbacks.
Equipo Tora Carey, El Jobo, Costa Rica
Equipo Tora Carey (ETC) was created as the result of a successful cooperation between fishermen, local tourism operators, and biologists in protecting sea turtles around Punta Descartes in 2015. In the present, local residents patrol 5 different beaches every night. SEE Turtles has partnered with ETC since 2018, they protect around 250 nests of olive ridley, black, and sporadic hawksbill nests. With US$ 2,000 this season, Billion Baby Turtles support the protection of around 2,500 baby turtles.
COBEC, Marereni Seascape, Kenya
This project seeks to support the local effort on Marereni seascape, especially in the established locally managed marine area. This project aims to protect sea turtles and their habitats, both in the waters and on the beach by facilitating and enhancing local residents to patrol and protect the nests. COBEC is trying to find alternatives to illegally taken eggs for the local communities. With US$ 3,000 Billion Baby Turtles supported this project to protect almost 2,500 hatchlings.
Campamento Tortuguero Mayto, Jalisco, Mexico (Emergency Fund Grant)
Focused on the protection of a sea turtle nesting beach on the Pacific coast of Mexico, Mayto integrates environmental education and community-based conservation efforts into a program that ensures the safeguarding of sea turtle nests and hatchlings through volunteering programs (nationally and internationally) as well as educational stays for high school and university groups. Every year they protect between 1,200 and 1,500 nests (mostly olive ridleys and sporadic leatherbacks and hawksbills) and more than 70,000 hatchlings. Mayto was severely affected by Hurricane Kay since September 4th, 2022 with a loss of more than 70% of its facilities and significant damages to their hatchery. SEE Turtles supported this project with US $2,500 to match donations to rebuild part of their lost facilities affected by the hurricane.
Pro Ocean, Venezuela
This year Billion Baby Turtles supported with US$ 1,500 a project for conservation of the hawksbill turtle, in the Los Roques Archipelago National Park. The goal is to collect nesting data during the nesting peak for this species in the year 2022 that allows estimating the current number of nesting females and nests (including potential hatchlings), as well as evaluating and quantifying the threats of the different reproductive stages, including threats from coastal development to nesting habitats in Los Roques Archipelago National Park.
Sea Turtles Forever, Punta Pargos, Costa Rica
This project started in 2002 and has been a SEE Turtles partner since 2012. This project was developed to stop the illegal harvest of threatened and endangered marine turtles that has been taking place for decades. By running nightly protection and monitoring patrols they have managed to curtail illegal harvest of marine turtles and their eggs by 95%. With US$ 2,000 our Billion Baby Turtles program is helping them to protect more than 1,000 baby turtles.
Palmarito, Oaxaca, Mexico (New Partner)
The Palmarito Project has been operating since 2005, a nesting beach for leatherback black and olive ridley turtles, located on the route migration of sea turtles and the most important nesting area in the Mexican Pacific. Last season they protected 1,163 baby leatherbacks, 8,735 green and 40,076 baby ridleys. Billion Baby Turtles supported this new partner with US$ 5,000 helping to save more than 7,000 baby turtles.