The Sea Turtle is not only Pacsafe’s logo, it’s a symbol of our brand DNA. As part of that, the Pacsafe Turtle Fund helps support on-the-ground projects that work to preserve this amazing creature. Since 2014, we’ve been providing funds to organizations the world over who work tirelessly on different turtle conservation programs.
In 2018, the Pacsafe Turtle Fund has been fortunate to provide grants to three organizations – FFI, HAKA and SEE Turtles. Each group has their own approach to preserving sea turtles with strong success in their respective areas. With the funding cycle halfway through for the year, we caught up with each group to see how things have been progressing and what strides they’ve been able to make in their efforts. Here’s a summary of some of the highlights they’ve been able to achieve.
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. Prior to daily patrolling of the area an estimated 10,000 turtle eggs were being poached each month. Poaching activities effectively halted once patrolling started.
With Pacsafe’s help this year HAKA have been able to continue patrolling operations, monitor nesting grounds, keeping them clean, collecting data and even recruit new volunteers to carry out this important work.
“These people come and work with us on Bangkaru Island on the rotating basis, so there is greater understanding within the community about the program,” said Luke Swainson in his interim report. “This helps to generate greater support for the program through job creation.”
Between April – Aug HAKA monitored over 200 turtles every and every month coming ashore with a significant portion of those laying eggs. No eggs were poached during this time.
HAKA have also been able to help generate promotional content to further generate support for their cause. Check out this video as one example.
SEE Turtles is a small organization with a big impact. They support efforts to protect sea turtles in partnership with other groups 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.
This year, with the help of Pacsafe’s support, SEE Turtles have been able to expand their ‘To Rare To Wear’ campaign, focussing on building a leadership community against wildlife trafficking. SEE have been named co-chair of the US Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, which is a tourism working group with the WWF. SEE have also started relationships with the World Travel & Tourism Council, Pacific Asia Travel Association and ResponsibleTravel.com, among others, to further raise awareness about the trade of turtle shell products. These relationships help to spread information about the harmful effects of turtle products, reducing demand and therefore reducing the incentive for potential poachers.
In addition to outreach and education, SEE Turtles has assisted with active patrols to find and confiscate illegal turtle shell products. One example is 6 patrols in Cartagena, a previous turtle shell trade hotspot. These patrols found and confiscated 467 pieces, which is a significant reduction from previous years.
Another key aim of SEE Turtles is to gather data about the trade of turtle products. “There are still many gaps in information on this trade from around the world,” they said. “We are now starting to work on the first worldwide survey of the turtle shell trade. Previously these reports have been limited to specific countries and regions.”
To learn even more about SEE Turtles conservation efforts and successes, head here.
FFI 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.
This year, FFI are been aiming to recover Critically Endangered and Vulnerable marine turtle populations in the Eastern Pacific of Nicaragua.
With Pacsafe’s help, FFI have delivered critical training in beach protection and monitoring protocols to 22 people. This included 16 patrol team members deployed for the 2018 hawksbill nesting season – three new field staff and three international volunteers. Volunteers have also been equipped with the necessary field supplies for beach protection and monitoring.
16.5km of beaches have been patrolled. A total of 163 days of monitoring took place at one key location and 100 days at another.
FFI have also been working to promote less harmful fishing practices in coastal communities along Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast. So far four workshops on Responsible Fishing have been held with a total of 100 fishermen participating.
Stay tuned for a full update on how each of these great organizations efforts wrap up in six months time. If you’re like to read more about the Pacsafe Turtle Fund head here.