Sea turtles celebrated at Symposium in the US

Fauna & Flora International’s turtle conservation team is currently in Maryland, USA, for the Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation.

José Urteaga, Fauna & Flora International’s (FFI) Nicaragua Country Manager and National Geographic Emerging Explorer recipient and Gena Abarca, Environmental Education & Communication Coordinator are representing FFI’s work with sea turtles in Nicaragua at the Symposium in Baltimore.

Jose Urteaga releases a Hawksbill turtle at Padre Ramos, Nicaragua. Credit: Ally Catterick/FFI
Jose Urteaga releases a Hawksbill turtle at Padre Ramos, Nicaragua. Credit: Ally Catterick/FFI

The annual Symposium, now in its 33rd year, is hosted by the International Sea Turtle Society and draws participants from around the world, from across disciplines and cultures to a common interest and objective: sea turtle conservation. Encouraging discussion, debate, and the sharing of knowledge, research techniques and lessons in conservation to address questions on the biology and conservation of sea turtles and their habitats, it’s become a significant global event.

José, a marine biologist who has been working on FFI’s marine turtle programme since 2002, and the rest of the FFI team are joining over 1000 participants from more than 75 countries for the Symposium, which this year focuses on ‘Connections’ in sea turtle biology, research and conservation.

On Tuesday, José was given a prominent role in a high-profile panel discussion on ‘conservation success stories’. In this important opening session, moderated by Washington Post environment writer and author Juliet Eilperin, José joined five other experts to share results from turtle conservation initiatives which are demonstrating real success. José was typically upbeat when sharing key elements of success in Nicaragua, and highlighted the importance of active and broad based partnerships, whilst reiterating the importance of working closely with local communities.

FFI's Jose Urteaga speaks at the Sea Turtle Symposium in Baltimore. Credit: Adam Henson/FFI
FFI's Jose Urteaga speaks at the Sea Turtle Symposium in Baltimore. Credit: Adam Henson/FFI

FFI United States Technical Director Adam Henson was also in attendance, commenting, “This Symposium is a great opportunity for José and his team to share ideas, successes and challenges with practitioners and experts within the global sea turtle community. Jose’s optimism and emphasis on strong partnerships with diverse stakeholders was especially well received by symposium participants.”

The Symposium continues until Friday.

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