Fauna & Flora International protects turtles in the eastern Pacific

Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is excited to share the unprecedented achievements of our Nicaragua Programme in their work with hawksbill turtles. Categorized as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List, successful conservation continues to raise hopes for the recovery of this species.

In partnership with the Eastern Pacific Hawksbill Initiative (ICAPO), FFI have been promoting and supporting a community-based conservation initiative at Estero Padre Ramos Natural Reserve, on Nicaragua’s north-west coast to protect, conserve and develop understanding of the hawksbill turtles.

As is the case with all marine turtles, hawksbills are threatened with the collection of their eggs and meat for consumption and sale. Within three months the project had observed and tagged more than 60 individual hawksbills and protected an astonishing 250 hawksbill nests.

These successes are unparalleled; more hawksbills have been tagged in Estero Padre Ramos than in the rest of the eastern Pacific combined.

The preliminary results from this on-going project demonstrate the importance of Estero Padre Ramos for hawksbills, far surpassing the original estimate of 60-100 nests per season.

“Finding places like Padre Ramos is not something that happens every year and is excellent news for the conservation of this species worldwide and pride of Nicaragua.” said Jose Urteaga, Nicaragua’s Program Manager for FFI.

Until a couple of years ago, the hawksbill turtle was considered almost impossible to find in the Eastern Pacific. Much of the success of the project can be attributed to the leadership and key role of the local fishing cooperative (COJIZOPA). The cooperative leads protection and outreach work across several communities in the area and collects valuable scientific information and samples as a result of the technical training they received from FFI and ICAPO.

Photo credits: Perla Torres Gago/ FFI