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Turtle hatchlings © Vic Medina

Turtle hatchlings © Vic Medina

Conserving marine turtles and priority habitats in the Nicaraguan Pacific

Project lead: Alison Gunn

Fauna & Flora works with communities in Nicaragua to conserve turtle populations in the Nicaraguan Pacific. 

Our work in the Nicaraguan Pacific

We work with a range of stakeholders – communities, authorities, NGOs, universities and enterprises – to tackle threats and build support and capacity for the conservation of turtles and their marine habitats. Central to our approach is promoting community ownership of conservation activities, including nesting beach monitoring and protection, and improving the custodianship of Nicaragua’s valuable marine resources.

Project goals

We aim to ensure that marine turtle populations in the Nicaraguan Pacific are recovering, and priority marine habitats have increased biodiversity and resilience, with coastal communities benefiting as custodians of Nicaragua’s marine ecosystems. To achieve this goal, Fauna & Flora is working towards the following key outcomes over the next five years: 

  • Marine turtle nesting and hatching success is maintained and enhanced at the most important nesting sites in Nicaragua, underpinned by reduced demand for, and trade in, marine turtle products. 
  • Bycatch of marine turtles and harmful fishing practices are significantly reduced in key foraging grounds, marine protected areas and other priority areas along the Pacific coast of Nicaragua and in the Gulf of Fonseca. 
  • Health of priority coastal and marine ecosystems is improved, as a result of enhanced participatory governance and more effective management of protected areas. 
  • Coastal communities are motivated towards and actively engaged in coastal and marine conservation and are benefiting from this. 
  • Marine and turtle conservation strategies are underpinned by robust scientific understanding, increased national capacity, regional collaboration and sustainable financing. 
Hawksbill turtle. © Ollie / Adobe Stock

Hawksbill turtle. © Ollie / Adobe Stock

Project timeline


    Fauna & Flora launches targeted campaign to reduce demand for turtle eggs in Nicaragua, centred on slogan “Son Nicas”.

    Hawksbill turtle. © Ally Catterick / Fauna & Flora

    Hawksbill turtle. © Ally Catterick / Fauna & Flora


    Fauna & Flora contributes to scientific knowledge of hawksbill habitat use and migration patterns through collaboration with ICAPO on satellite tagging study. 


    Fauna & Flora expands Weaving for Nature initiative for local women to generate an income from upcycling beach plastics into marketable products to three coastal communities.


    Fauna & Flora scales up work with local fishers and authorities to increase compliance with fisheries regulations and reduce harmful fishing practices.

    © German Garcia / Fauna & Flora


    Fauna & Flora plays key role in development of Action Plan for Eastern Pacific Leatherbacks (2012) and Action Plan for the Conservation of Hawksbill Turtles in the Gulf of Fonseca (2014)


    Fauna & Flora and partners identify two large, shallow mangrove estuaries in northern Nicaragua as important hawksbill nesting and foraging grounds.


    Fauna & Flora launches first national awareness campaign, centred on slogan “I don’t eat turtle eggs”.

    Leatherback hatchlings © Jorge Martinez / Fauna & Flora

    Leatherback hatchlings © Jorge Martinez / Fauna & Flora


    Highest recorded nesting numbers at Veracruz nesting beach, with 80 leatherback nests protected.


    Fauna & Flora begins work in Nicaragua, including first season of leatherback protection patrols at Veracruz nesting beach.

Our impact

Over the past two decades, Fauna & Flora and our local partners have reduced poaching of turtle eggs to less than 4% (from nearly 100%) and increased hatchling production across over 40km of nesting habitat – successfully protecting thousands of turtle nests and releasing over 200,000 hatchlings into the sea.

Project partners

This project is delivered in partnership with:  

  • Nicaraguan government departments, including MARENA (Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources), MEFCCA (Ministry of Family, Community, Cooperatives & Associative Economy) and INTUR (Institute of Tourism), INPESCA (Nicaraguan Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture) 
Leatherback hatchling © Jorge Martinez / Fauna & Flora

Saving species on the brink

We’re working with our partners around the world to save species from extinction. Like the pieces of a jigsaw, every last one of them is a vital part of the bigger picture. Together, we can help bring the world’s endangered species back from the brink.

Please support our vital work today and help save our planet’s irreplaceable biodiversity.


Leatherback hatchling © Jorge Martinez / Fauna & Flora

Alison Gunn profile picture

Alison Gunn

Alison is Fauna & Flora International’s Programme Manager for the Americas and Caribbean region. Having begun her conservation career studying social behaviour in primates, she has since gained over 15 years’ experience in wildlife research, biodiversity conservation and protected areas management in Latin America and East Africa. As Programme Manager, she is responsible for supporting the development and management of a portfolio of projects across FFI’s Americas & Caribbean programme, with her main geographic focus being Nicaragua.

Alison provides technical support to field teams and partner organisations on integrated landscape management, climate adaptation planning, ecosystem service valuation, biodiversity monitoring and financial sustainability, as well as species conservation (with a particular focus on marine turtles). She is also responsible for communicating our conservation work to a wide range of audiences.