When we were recently in Todos Santos, Mexico, we missed the special baby turtle release season by a mere week! You can count on us going back again, or somewhere else in the world where we can witness this beautiful moment of Mother Nature, but until then — we can “Give a dollar; save a turtle.” SEE Turtles Billion Baby Campaign is a simple but powerful effort that seeks to help reverse the decline of endangered sea turtles around the world over the next decade. They not only raise funds but also recruit volunteers to help in their baby turtle release efforts around the world.
The short-term goal of the SEE Turtle Billion Baby Turtles Campaign is to raise $50,000 to save 50,000 new hatchlings through the end of 2013, with increasing goals in coming years. To date over a period of four years, SEE Turtles has helped to save more than 30,000 baby turtles at important turtle nesting beaches in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, among others.
Funding so far has primarily gone to support hawksbill turtles in the Eastern Pacific, perhaps the world’s most endangered sea turtle population, as well as critically endangered leatherback turtles in Costa Rica. From January 1, 2013 to date, the campaign has raised more than $25,000.
Ocean conservationist Dr. Wallace J. Nichols said the organization seeks to raise monies through individual donations, business sponsorships, school fundraisers and sea turtle conservation tours promoted by the organization.
What impressed us most about this campaign is that 100 percent of individual donations (that’s right – 100 percent) will go to sea turtle conservation programs; SEE Turtles will not take any overhead from those gifts. Partners already enlisted include Endangered Species Chocolate, Nature’s Path Foods, and CauseBars.
“Odds are long for a baby sea turtle, even under the best of circumstances. But with all the human activities added to the mix, survival is a challenge. Survival to maturity may be as low as one in a thousand. That’s why we are raising the bar and aspire to save a billion baby turtles, because that’s what’s needed now,” said Nichols.
[quote]Six out of seven species of sea turtles around the world are endangered or threatened due to, among other threats, poaching of eggs and turtles getting caught in fishing gear.[/quote]
Monies help fund local residents and researchers to patrol sea turtle nesting beaches and bring eggs to protected hatcheries through community-based organizations at key sites. The goal is to save 20,000 Eastern Pacific hawksbill hatchlings (approximately 90 percent of the population’s hatchlings) in El Salvador and Nicaragua, 10,000 leatherback hatchlings in Costa Rica, 10,000 green turtle hatchlings in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and 10,000 olive ridley hatchlings in Nicaragua, with numbers increasing in subsequent years as more international projects are added to the list.
To determine which conservation projects receive funding, SEE Turtles has created a set of criteria including the status of the species, the importance of the nesting beach, and the level of community involvement.
About SEE Turtles
SEE Turtles is an innovative project working to support community-based turtle conservation projects around Latin America through conservation tourism, volunteer recruiting, fundraising, and educational programs. Since its launch, the non-profit ecotourism project has generated nearly $400,000 in support for turtle organizations and local communities through donations, tour fees, spending in local businesses, and in-kind contributions.
They have connected 200 volunteers with partners who have completed more than 2,000 work shifts at a dozen nesting beach projects. It is a pilot project and primary focus of SEEtheWILD, the world’s first non-profit wildlife conservation travel project. Both SEEtheWILD and SEE Turtles are part of The Ocean Foundation.
For more information on the program and how it works, please visit www.billionbabyturtles.org.
Love the giant leatherback turtles? Read Lanee’s piece in Bespoke Magazine on the conservation work of leatherback turtles in Bahia Beach, Puerto Rico titled Underwater Wilderness.
Wanna help in a fashionable way? Purchase this MADE in California t-shirt by Purakai and save 5 baby turtles.