Sea turtle conservation on the coast of Mexico
Sea turtle conservation is the aim of this marine wildlife conservation project on the Pacific coast of Mexico. It protects endangered olive ridley turtles, leatherback and rare eastern pacific green turtles from both poachers and predators. All are protected by international and Mexican law. The project achieves this by locating, collecting and incubating the thousands of eggs laid on the beach between June and November, an arduous job that can only realistically be done through the support of numerous willing volunteers.
Volunteers then help release the baby turtles back into the ocean after approximately 45 days incubation.
In addition to protecting the eggs, the project promotes environmental awareness to local people and village school-children, which is the basis for any longer term solution to the issues.
The turtle camp is remote and surrounded by stunning, isolated beaches. There is however a good social life associated with the village and other volunteers on the turtle conservation project. There is a healthy population of dolphins and humpback whales and volunteers have the unusual opportunity of viewing them from the project boat.
This sea turtle conservation project is suitable for volunteers under the age of 18, as well as gap year students and conservation enthusiasts.
Volunteers on this sea turtle conservation project comb the expansive length of sandy beaches every night, looking for nests, eggs and mature female turtles as they magically appear out of the ocean. The eggs are taken back to a protected hatchery which needs daily maintenance. After 45 days of incubation the baby turtles hatch and are carefully released into the ocean.
Volunteers take shifts patrolling the beaches during evening and in the middle of the night. Patrols are done on either quad bike or foot and despite the wonderful setting, the work and timing means this becomes arduous.
Volunteers help in all aspects of maintaining the camp, plus additional conservation work in the area, such as the regeneration of mangroves, planting of palm trees and cleaning the beaches and camp itself.
Volunteers will come away with extensive understanding of the turtle life-cycle and behaviour as well as other related issues of marine ecology and sea turtle conservation.
Read Eliza’s review of her time at the project
Outside the protected areas the turtles are critically endangered. Only a small number of environmentally aware Mexican people can afford to participate in this type of work and so international volunteers do a good job of both preserving the species and raising awareness from local people. Children in particular participate and in the fullness of time might take over the project in its entirety.
I seriously can't over exaggerate how much of an amazing experience it was; I am just so grateful for the opportunity and I have Outreach International and the people at camp to thank.M13, Mexico
Sea turtle conservation in Mexico was an experience of a lifetime for Eliza
In my opinion the experience has changed me for the best as I have become a more independent person whilst also improving my confidence