Today, Fauna & Flora works to protect six key sea turtle nesting sites in Nicaragua, including three hawksbill nesting sites. At each of these, we are working to stabilise and rebuild the critical sub-population of hawksbills by working with communities to protect nests from poaching, reducing by-catch through improved fishing practices and changing public attitudes towards turtle egg consumption.
Sea turtles are long-lived so, while we can reduce the threats turtles face in the short term, we are unlikely to see changes to overall population numbers for some time when the turtle hatchlings we are protecting today are old enough to return to nest on the beaches where they were born. However, we do know that our conservation efforts are protecting over 40% of all hawksbill turtles in the entire eastern Pacific Ocean. To date, well over 200,000 hawksbill hatchlings have been safely released into the sea.
We are also protecting hawksbill turtles in Honduras, where we are working with partners and coastal communities within the Mesoamerican Reef. In Antigua, nesting hawksbill numbers have increased fourfold since invasive, predatory black rats were removed from several offshore islands. Hawksbills are among the five turtle species benefiting from our community-led conservation work in West Papua, Indonesia.