Meeting The Most Endangered Turtles

Summer in Portland, Oregon is wonderful. Warm sunny days blend gradually into crisp nights even at the height of summer, a perfect climate to explore the Columbia Gorge, Mt. Hood, and the Oregon Coast. So why did I give up two weeks of my hometown’s best weather to visit the hot, rainy, and buggy coastal areas of El Salvador and Nicaragua?

When you get the opportunity to tag along with some of the world’s leading turtle conservationists to put satellite tags on possibly the planet’s most endangered sea turtles, you say yes and start looking at airfares. My non-profit wildlife conservation travel, SEEtheWILD, supports this work with donations and helping to promote these sites to volunteers and ecotourists, and I’ve been wanting to visit these sites for years.

Over ten days, I traveled with a small, diverse group of people to visit four key sea turtle habitats in two countries. We put transmitters on six turtles at two sites, attended a turtle festival, and met local residents working to support conservation programs. I will be sharing these experiences with blog posts, images, and more in the hopes of educating people about the threats that sea turtles face in this region and how people can participate in their conservation.

A few of the inspiring people I traveled with included Alex & Ingrid Gaos, the driving force behind the Eastern Pacific Hawksbill Initiative, one of the most hopeful turtle conservation stories out there; Jose Urteaga of Flora and Fauna International, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer and one of Nicaragua’s leaders in turtle conservation; and Dr. Jeff Seminoff, director of Marine Turtle Research at the National Marine Fisheries Service of NOAA. Others include Randall Arauz, recent winner of the prestigious Goldman Prize and founder of Pretoma, a leading wildlife organization in Costa Rica; Enriqueta Ramirez, founder of ViVAZUL and one of El Salvador’s leading young turtle conservationists; and Liza Gonzalez, current Nicaragua Director for Paso Pacifico and former director of the Nicaragua protected area system.

Some researchers believe the hawksbill turtles of this region are the most endangered population in the world; fewer than 500 nesting turtles remain at two sites. A network of people are working to bring these turtles back from the brink while at the same time providing opportunities for improving the lives of coastal residents near turtle hotspots. I’ll be posting about how these hawksbills have chosen mangroves over coral reefs (unlike the rest of their species around the world) and about innovative programs that are providing optimism for the future of turtles in the region. I hope you will join me on this exploration to learn about one of the world’s most charismatic and endangered animals.

<p><strong>Related Stories:</strong></p>

<p><strong><a href=”“>Rescue Dog Becomes Whale Research Assistant</a></strong></p>

<p><strong><a href=”“>Low, Slow Death of  a Sea Turtle</a></strong></p>

<p><strong><a href=”“>Bigger-than-a-man Sea Turtle Returned To Ocean</a></strong></p>



Valentina R.
Valentina R5 years ago

Poor turtles.

Anita Wisch
Anita Wisch5 years ago

To give of yourself, is the most valuable gift you can give.

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman5 years ago

Turtles are slow but, they are so cool :-) Thnx Brad Nahill for he Article...

Mandy Harker
Mandy H5 years ago

Nice to know they're being looked after!

Katherine Wright
Katherine Wright5 years ago

For anyone who has given up their precious time to volunteer for a worthy cause already knows the sheer joy of giving of one's self. For those who do not volunteer, you should really consider will give you a sense of happiness and joy that you cannot experience otherwise. Try it, you'll love it!

Thank you Brad. It sounds like it was an incredible that you will remember for the rest of your life. I hope you will continue your volunteer efforts. Volunteers rock!

When I finally retire I'm going to be spending the good part of my week volunteering doing environmental workdays and at local animal rescues.

Yvette S.
Yvette S5 years ago

Thanks for the info!

Yvette S.
Yvette S5 years ago

Sad story.i hope that we can save the turtles

Dogan Ozkan
Dogan Ozkan5 years ago


Shawna Sitter
Shawna S5 years ago

Awesome story...Thanks!!!

Robert O.
Robert O5 years ago

Thanks Brad.