WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?
As a popular tourist destination, Mexico’s environment is under great threat from human influences including the development of the coastline and recreational activities which result in disturbances and habitat loss for marine life. The main conservation project has been running since 1967 having been set up by a local fisherman and continued by his family as well as the local community working together with the ministry of environment to help preserve this endangered species.
Turtles are slow to adapt to changing environmental conditions and sea turtles face many dangers from the minute the eggs are laid into the sand, the most dangerous journey which is the one from their nest to the ocean and of course many predators and dangers in the ocean such as pollution and fishing nets.
The sea turtle project offers a hands on, sustainable solution for the ever declining sea turtle population. Out of the seven species of sea turtle alive today, five species make their home along the beaches and wetlands of Mexico, all of which are listed on the IUCN redlist as threatened or endangered species. This project helps to save hundreds of thousands of sea turtles a year from ever increasing threats, increasing survival rates for all four species.
By increasing the numbers of turtles in the sea we can attempt to help them adapt to changing conditions and sustain populations by reducing their vulnerability by rescuing nests in risk zones and by protecting the nesting females during the night. One of our most important strategies is environmental education to help both local communities and visiting tourists learn about sea turtles and how to protect them.
WHAT WILL I BE DOING?
As a volunteer you will be patrolling the beach either during the day or night to rescue nests in dangerous areas and transport them to safe zones, take care of the hatchlings nesting in our safe areas, release hatchlings into the ocean, protect nesting females during the night and collect vital information about them as part of the ongoing studies. We aim to get volunteers involved in a range of hands-on training experiences. Your day to day duties will be dependent upon the season and the current focus of the project at the time of your visit and detailed work programmes will be agreed with your project leader upon arrival. Tasks could typically involve nest management, nest transplants, hatchling release and attending visiting groups. You will join the team to provide around the clock assistance and learn about the greater aims of the conservation project, your days will be long but certainly rewarding.
Other activities could include attending sick or injured sea turtles, and the opportunity to learn about the other marine education, research, and restoration programmes organised by the project.