Hawksbill turtle nesting season is underway in El Salvador. The start of another season is a joyful reminder of nature’s continuing cycles, especially during these difficult times.
Just 12 years ago, hawksbills were thought to be wiped out in the entire eastern Pacific region – from Mexico to Peru. In 2008, hawksbill nesting grounds were discovered in El Salvador’s Jiquilisco Bay, generating waves of optimism about the potential for this critically endangered species to recover.
Since then, our partner ProCosta has worked relentlessly to protect hawksbill nesting females, their eggs, and hatchlings, alongside artisanal fishing communities. To date, they have tagged 271 nesting females, protected 2,040 nests and have released nearly 160,000 hatchlings.
El Salvador is critical to regional hawksbill recovery with about 50% of nesting in the entire eastern Pacific.
Our conservation work continues amidst challenges from COVID-19. Luckily, beach patrols are a solitary activity so ProCosta and their community partners can patrol nesting beaches and protect nests in community-run hatcheries.
Efforts like these are a win-win for wildlife and people – these programs protect turtles and boost livelihoods through employment opportunities. An outcome that is much needed these days.
A nesting hawksbill lays a clutch of eggs on a mangrove-lined beach in El Salvador’s Jiquilisco Bay.
Members of ProCosta observe the nesting hawksbill turtle returning to sea after laying a clutch of eggs.
ProCosta team members Gilberto Pérez, Sofía Chavarría, Milton Maravilla (left to right) carefully transport recently laid hawksbill eggs to the to the Punta San Juan hatchery.
Gilberto Pérez buries the hawksbills eggs in the Punta San Juan Hatchery where they will be closely monitored and protected. Hatchlings are eventually released at the beach where they were laid.
ProCosta team members outside the Punta San Juan Hatchery.