6 of 7 species of sea turtles are endangered or at risk of becoming endangered!
It is currently estimated that only 1 in 10,000 baby sea turtles will make it to adulthood. The natural obstacles faced by young and adult sea turtles are staggering, but it is the increasing threats caused by humans that are driving them to extinction.
At the FCOLC we strive to improve the survival rate of these beautiful and mysterious marine animals. So far, we’ve achieved some BIG milestones. Fabien initially established the sea turtle restoration program in El Salvador in 2010, and then launched an expanded program in Nicaragua in 2019 to include women empowerment.
Our mission is to continue to protect sea turtles while also educating and training the women and youth in the local communities to practice ocean conservation and learn new skills.
Your gift will help us to protect and safeguard the nests as well as support the monthly stipend the local women on our team earn as they monitor the sea turtle study with our research partner, the UNAN-Leon.
1 nest = $150, 2 nests = $250, 3 nests = $350, 4 nests = $450
As a Thank You for your gift of adoption of $150+, you will enjoy the following:
A Certificate of Adoption with your Name & the Nest ID and species: hawksbill, leatherback, olive ridley or green
Periodic updates from the women who are protecting the nests
A special Thank You Card from Fabien Cousteau
A Guide to Sea Turtles and Fun Facts
A shout out on the Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center website & socials (or you can remain anonymous)
SEA TURTLES FROM THE START
In 2010, Fabien began work in El Salvador, collaborating with VIVAZUL (Live Blue), an El Salvadorian conservation organization dedicated to protecting sea turtles. He focused efforts on restoring sea turtle populations with the tortuguero communities in El Salvador.
The FCOLC established hatcheries for rescued eggs and developed alternative sources of income for the local community while extending the outreach via educational programs to help save and release as many hatchlings as possible in multiple locations in El Salvador.
To date, this Sea Turtle Program has saved over 750,000 eggs from the illegal market and released over 680,000 hatchlings into the ocean since its inception.
Our program works with women from the local communities to build, maintain, and operate the facilities utilized for conducting sea turtle research, conservation and education.
SEA TURTLES IN NICARAGUA
The FCOLC has brought its Sea Turtle Program to the northwestern Pacific coast of Nicaragua within Isla Juan Venado Nature Reserve, a protected area where there are currently 4 different species of sea turtle that nest on the beaches: the eastern Pacific hawksbill, eastern Pacific green, leatherback, and olive ridley. The initial location was at Las Penitas and we have expanded the coastal area to a second location, Salinas Grandes. The popularity of our work in Las Penitas, our initial location for our research station and hatcheries, attracted more women to the program. In 2020 we were able to expand our work along the coast to Salinas Grandes, and begin training a new team of women who also work with local youth and community volunteers.
& IMPACTING THE ENVIRONMENT
In Nicaragua, women face gender-inequality in their community. Typically, men would manage operations of egg collection on the beach and protect hatchlings in the nursery. But today, we have achieved an important change in the role women play in the conservation of sea turtles. With the establishment of this female-led program, those tasks are now being handled by the women and young girls. The FCOLC has been able to instill confidence and independence for the women and currently provides a monthly stipend to those who are managing the project.
The women participating in the program also gain valuable experience in business, entrepreneurial, and management skills. They learn the technical skills needed for the identification, tagging, weighing, relocation, and monitoring of sea turtles for those who seek environmental careers.
In Nicaragua, the FCOLC, along with the (UNAN-León) the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua at Leon, have joined forces to conduct on-going research projects and environmental community education programs that aim to protect and conserve the sea turtle populations. By collaborating with over 300 students, faculty and the administration, we have been able to identify different types of congenital malformations in hatchlings. Our project has provided the university students with the hands-on experience needed to pursue their various careers in areas of study like biology, veterinary, pharmacy and medicine. Student involvement not only benefits the community through environmental education but results in valuable sea turtle scientific data and discoveries.
In addition, we work alongside local community members, and the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (MARENA) whose role is to plan and manage the project.
UNAN Leon has benefitted from the FCOLC partnership in many ways…(they) provided opportunities to empower women in the university and the local community. Participants have gained knowledge in environmental science, sea turtle conservation, and collaborative programming. The hands-on learning reinforces concepts taught in classrooms and builds confidence…
I have seen youth inspired to pursue science degrees and careers through mentorship and guidance that would not have been possible without the support from the FCOLC. I look forward to continuing to advance research on the effects of climate change and the protection of sea turtles in Pacific Nicaragua and strengthening conservation and education campaigns. UNAN Leon is thankful for the partnership.
-Oscar González-Quiroz Ph.D.
Ecology, Ecosystem Restoration and Conservation
Biology Department, UNAN-Leon
As of December 2020, this program has inspired over 100+ youth (girls) and currently partners with 31 local women between Las Penitas and Salinas Grandes locations with numbers expected to grow to more than 55.
The women and youth in the program have relocated a total of 24,358 sea turtle eggs to the hatcheries, released 16,919 sea turtles back to the ocean after just one year, with numbers expected to increase in the early 2021 nesting season.