Marine Turtles

Worldwide, marine turtle populations face severe threats from the poaching of turtle eggs, incompatible coastal development, and destructive fishing practices.

The eastern Pacific is recognized globally for its marine turtle habitat and is home to vulnerable and endangered species such as hawksbill, leatherback, olive ridley, and green turtles. We are leveraging more than a decade of marine turtle conservation work in Nicaragua to support recovery of marine turtle populations in El Salvador.

In particular, El Salvador is home to close to half of all hawksbill turtle nesting activity in the eastern Pacific. Hawksbills are critically endangered globally, with fewer than 700 adult females estimated in the region, and 90% of known nesting occurring in El Salvador and Nicaragua. Threats include destructive fishing practices, harvest of turtle eggs, and degradation of nesting and marine habitats.

The eastern Pacific is a globally important habitat for marine turtles, home to many vulnerable and endangered species.

Partnering for Hawksbill Turtle Conservation in El Salvador

We work with Salvadoran partner ProCosta and coastal communities to protect critically endangered hawksbill turtles across El Salvador’s three primary nesting sites. Our collaboration centers on deepening ProCosta’s hawksbill conservation network, comprised of artisanal fishing community members who work as turtle patrollers and operate community hatcheries.

ProCosta has been implementing community-based marine turtle conservation for over a decade, and results for hawksbills are enormously promising – upwards of 99% nest protection in the most important site and tens of thousands of hatchlings released each season.

We are supporting targeted conservation actions in El Salvador to ensure continuing success of ProCosta’s hawksbill recovery efforts, including hawksbill nest protection and hatcheries, community livelihoods and engagement, and turtle monitoring and research.

View images of ProCosta’s nest protection and turtle monitoring by photojournalist Allison Shelley:

Conducting Marine Surveys in Cambodia

Along Cambodia’s southwest coast, we are giving shape to work with government partners and local communities to protect marine habitats and key species in the coastal areas of Kampot and Kep provinces. This bio-rich area, with mangrove forests, estuaries, sea grass beds and coral reefs, is home to both hawksbill and green marine turtles. Our team is conducting biodiversity surveys to identify areas with high-quality seagrass and coral habitat, which serves as foraging grounds for the turtles.

View images of marine survey work in Cambodia: