Continuing the Fabien Cousteau successes in sea turtle restoration efforts through VIVAZUL initiative in El Salvador, the Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center (“OLC”) will bring the VIVAZUL-El Salvador project under the OLC umbrella to restore the sea turtle population through community–based management and environmental education.
El Salvador is one of the smallest countries in South America, with a growing population that is heavily dependent upon a severely threatened biodiversity. Compared to other developing countries, El Salvador has experienced relatively low rates of GDP growth in the last two decades and its current market economy is under siege. This has resulted in the illegal traffic of sea turtle eggs, and coupled with the high demand coming from larger cities, has caused a drastic reduction of sea turtles populations.
Fabien Cousteau and VIVAZUL-El Salvador have joined the national effort to restore sea turtle populations and with the tortuguero* communities at El Amatal, Toluca and Bocapoza, beaches have established three hatcheries for rescued eggs. This project works with the local tortuguero committees, and other local, national and international activists. It also includes outreach educational efforts in major cities of El Salvador and an invitation for the private sector to participate, and to help to save and release as many hatchlings as possible.
This program has saved over 700,000 sea turtle eggs from illegal market and released over 680,000 hatchlings into the ocean since its inception.
We expect to keep increasing those numbers and expand our program to other locations including, but not limited to Nicaragua, Florida and Maldives.
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(*) Tortuguero(s) definition: person/collective whose prior economic activity was selling sea turtle eggs in the black market. Former poachers.