[Educator resources included]
The rare Hawksbill sea turtles are making a comeback in Nicaragua, thanks to local conservation efforts like those of our partners at the Palo de Oro Sea Turtle Project.
According to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), nest counts for this critically endangered species have increased 200 percent over the last 15 years.
In spite of increasing numbers, the Hawksbill and other species of sea turtles in Nicaragua are still gravely endangered by habitat loss, poaching, and fishing nets. Conservationists have a long road toward stabilizing their numbers, but local communities know that protecting these gentle creatures can also play a part in stimulating the local economy.
The Palo de Oro ecotourism project and sea turtle hatchery in the Isla Juan Venado Nature Reserve was created to provide employment for local families, while protecting the sea turtles and their offspring. The project currently provides tours and offers lodging for visitors and volunteers, employing 13 local families who walk the 18km of beach front nightly to find and protect the turtles and their eggs from predators.
The turtle nursery project hatches three species of turtles, Leatherback, Olive Ridley, and Hawskbill (Carey). To learn about these species, check out this fact sheet by the World Animal Foundation.
Interested in visiting Palo de Oro on Isla Juan Venado? Check out their website.
*Note for teachers: Check out this lesson plan on sea turtles for grades 6-8.