Golfinas en la Bella: Environmental education to protect sea turtles.
The environmental education project seeks to assist beachfront villagers, property owners, and managers in identifying actions that can be taken to protect sea turtles and their nesting beaches on the coast of Manabí province, from Ecuador.
The project is about environmental education to rural communities that have contact with living marine organisms inhabiting the coast of Manabí province, from Ecuador. The partners are WildAid Foundation and the Environment Governer Minister of Ecuador.
The villagers of Crucita, San Clemente, San Jacinto, Bahia, and La Boca Beach, have a traditional attachment to the Olive ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea). Their nesting areas and adult female turtles are vulnerable to the impacts of tourists that come every weekend. The project seeks to educate villagers for support to turtles that often ate plastic, mistaking it for food or were found injured or dead to entanglement.
Also, the villagers clean the beaches and organize campaigns or festivals to engage tourists through art, music, local traditional food, and education. That means a positive impact on more nests and eclosions and contributes to local people’s livelihood through tourism and wellbeing, and this also allows the economy to increase.
The mission of the organization is the preservation and conservation of marine turtles. Activities like monitoring nesting, hatching, reaching the ocean, are realized in this work and data has continued to be collected each season, to be delivered to environmental entities and thus contribute to the preparation of annual reports for the IAC (Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of the Marine turtles).
Also, in 2021, the leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) was reported for the first time after 40 years on San Clemente beach, in Manabí. Fundación Contamos Contigo Ecuador and villagers supported monitoring nesting. This species is listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. It is estimated that the global population has declined 40 percent over the past three generations.
The foundation has the first "Tortuguero Reina Laúd" Camping. It is the first training center for volunteers and villagers who want to engage in activities of conservation and preservation of marine turtles, environmental education, and waste management.