The sea turtle conservation program is great for volunteers looking to help marine Eco-systems by protecting one of its most vulnerable species as well as spending time outdoors. Sea turtles are endangered due to many factors like pollution, sea turtle nest poaching, plastics, by-catch, and injury due to motorized vessels. Sea turtle numbers are decreasing at a shocking pace, and that is why many projects around the world have been created to help slow down or hopefully stop this decline. As a volunteer in sea turtle conservation in Central America you will encounter these species:
Leatherback sea turtle:
The Leatherback sea turtle does not have a hard shell, but instead has a rough rubber-like skin that protects it along bone plates giving it a leather-like look. They are the largest sea turtles with an average size of 5 feet 9 inches to around 6 feet 3 inches in length and weighing 550-1650 pounds. They also have large migrational patterns crossing Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The Leatherbacks’ diet consists mainly of jellyfish helping control the population.
Their lifespan usually ranges around 50 years, although more exact numbers are not yet known. The leather back turtles usually nest in the same area where they were born or may choose another one in the region.
Olive Ridley Sea Turtle :
The Olive Ridely sea turtle has the largest population of all, and it gets its name from its olive color. It ranges from around 4 feet to 5’6 in length and weighs no more than 100 pounds.
This sea turtle returns to the beach where it was born to nest and only nests in a few places around the world, making it more vulnerable to changes in its habitat.
The Olive Ridley sea Turtle eats Jellyfish, crab, shrimp and occasionally algae. Volunteers in the sea turtle conservation program will encounter this turtle more often.
Hawksbill Sea Turtle:
The Hawksbill Sea Turtle lives mostly in shallow water making it more susceptible to predators and human harm, in fact, this turtle is now critically endangered.
The Hawksbill gets its name from its pointy nose, and is omnivorous but prefers eating sea sponges. They average a size of this turtle is around 3 feet and weighs around 90-150 pounds.
Volunteers working in the sea turtle conservation program can expect to task like :
-Support in cleaning and keeping in good appearance the installations.
-Support to the staff with activity planning.
-Help with building infrastructure as necessary
-Assist visitors to the project. (explaining turtles life and cycle, answering questions, etc)
-Help monitor hatchery and night turtle patrols (only during sea turtle season)
-Help in Mangrove conservation
-Assist to the staff with the egg donations in the mornings.
-Assist the staff with the activities for the release of turtles.
The turtle season ranges from July to December.
If you like simple living, being outdoors and love wildlife the sea turtle conservation program is for