In mid-January, sea turtle conservation in Ecuador took a major leap forward. Working with Ecuadorian NGO Equilibrio Azul, the Eastern Pacific Hawksbill Initiative, and NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center, CI-Ecuador and Lucho Suarez and CI Sea Turtle Scientist Bryan Wallace participated in the most widely reported sea turtle conservation event in Ecuador’s history.
In less than a week, the team deployed satellite transmitters on hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata); held workshops for the local community, national park administrators and university students; and received news coverage from all major national news outlets. Given that hawksbills in the eastern Pacific are likely the most threatened sea turtle population in the world, raising the profile of conservation efforts throughout the region is the key to ensuring their survival.
Here is Bryan’s first-hand account of the work in Ecuador.
The first beach we explored, Los Frailes, spanned more than two kilometers (1.2 miles) of pristine white sand, was backed by dry forest scrub and bookended by rocky cliffs. If I were a nesting sea turtle, I’d think this was a great spot to make my nest. Read the full dispatch >>
Within moments of having departed on a patrol, Andrés came running back shouting, "It’s a hawksbill! It’s a hawksbill!' Read the full dispatch >>
Isla de la Plata is often referred to 'The Poor Man’s Galápagos' because it is encircled by vibrant reef communities and hosts sea turtle and seabird nesting. We spent most of the day in the water, tending a net used to entangle juvenile green turtles. Read the full dispatch >>
The trail back from the beach was pure mud. Most of us walked barefoot, pulling ourselves along by grasping tree limbs and walking partly on roots, and simply skating down small hills like mud surfers. Read the full dispatch >>