Pacsafe’s love affair with the sea turtle started very early. When considering a logo that summed up their brand, an intrepid explorer of the world’s oceans, that carries a secure home on its back, was perfect. Since then, the turtle has become more than just a symbol of Safe Travels. The turtle is their guiding light when making decisions about environmental impacts of our product, as well as extra charity efforts.
“In 2008 we started to seriously look at what effect we were having on the environment and wider community,” Magnus McGlashan, co-founder of Pacsafe explains. “So we looked at where we had come from, our roots, and thought about the logo being the turtle. It helped put in our minds a concrete image of what we would be preserving if we were doing things the right way. It continues to give us high-level guidance on how we go about all aspects of our business. Recycled hang tags, reducing plastic in our packaging, eliminating PVC in our bags – it’s about making a holistic effort rather than just a monetary contribution. We’re not perfect, but we’re striving to get better all the time.”
That inspiration in 2008 spurred Magnus and his co-founder Rob Schlipper to put up a statement on the Pacsafe website citing what they wanted to achieve in helping protect the marine turtle. In 2010, this manifested in supporting international beach cleanups around the globe, especially in their adopted home of Hong Kong. By 2014, they were able to officially launch the Pacsafe Turtle Fund to support sea turtle conservation projects around the world. That first year’s grant supported the Latin American Sea Turtles Association (LAST) to build a hatchery in key nesting grounds, helping to protect more than 200 nests in 2014 and 133 nests in 2015. They estimate approximately 13000 baby turtles were released as a direct result.
In 2018, Pacsafe has been able to ramp up their support to three projects in partnership with FFI, HAKA, and SEE Turtles. Here is a little bit more about each organization and what they’re doing to help fulfill the Pacsafe Turtle Fund’s vision of “a world where marine turtles thrive in healthy oceans the world over, safe against the threat of extinction”.
FFI is one of the world’s oldest and most respected international conservation organizations.
They promote biodiversity through local partnerships, spanning approximately 140 projects in over 40 countries around the globe.
This is the second year running Pacsafe are supporting FFI, building a long-term relationship with a group who have proven results in turtle conservation.
“We are incredibly excited to continue to develop on these critical conservation and community-focused elements with PacSafe’s 2018 funding,” says Amy Winterbourne from FFI. “It will enable us to continue frontline protection and monitoring work at the most important sites for leatherback turtles on Nicaragua’s Pacific coast (Veracruz and Salamina beaches), and extend protection to a new nesting site at Juan Venado. We are delighted to report that 2017 was a strong year for leatherbacks nesting in Nicaragua, with a total of 26 nests recorded and protected across Salamina, Veracruz and Juan Venado beaches.”
HAKA is an NGO whose vision is the long-term social, financial and environmental health of Aceh Province in Indonesia.
HAKA began a turtle conservation program on Palau Bangkaru in 2013 because continued marine turtle decline in the region was having negative environmental, economic and cultural consequences. An estimated 10,000 turtle eggs were being poached each month prior to daily patrolling of the area, which effectively halted poaching activities. The presence of turtle rangers also managed to stop illegal logging of the rainforests on the island.
“It’s actually a big relief to receive this grant,” says HAKA representative Luke Swainson. “The program has been running on an absolute shoestring budget for the past 5 years, and this grant now enables us to undertake a number of activities we have been hoping to do but have not had the funds to do – including, employing more rangers, getting them better equipment, and generating more exposure about how important Bangkaru Island is and the necessity of improving conservation efforts there.”
SEE Turtles is a unique small organization with a big impact. They support efforts to protect sea turtles in partnership with organizations around the world by providing funds for important nesting beach projects, offering opportunities for travelers to support conservation, and educating people about threats to sea turtles as well as solutions.
“It is gratifying to be selected for the Pacsafe Turtle Fund grant,” says SEE Turles President Brad Nahill. “The support is helping to expand our Too Rare To Wear campaign to Asia, where the trade of turtleshell products threatens the critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle. The grant will also allow us to do the first global overview of this trade in decades.”
As the year progresses I’ll be following the successes of each of these projects on the Pacsafe Blog. I’ll also dive into some interviews with the committed people involved in saving our seafaring reptile friends. Stay tuned for more.
To read further about the Pacsafe Turtle Fund’s mission and results over the past 4 years, head here.
By Tim Hawken
Tim Hawken is an Australian writer who enjoys surfing, Indian food and romantic midnight strolls to the beer fridge. He has clocked up visits to 23 countries on 5 continents (and counting). Find out more about his weird world by heading to his website, or following him on Instagram and Twitter.