Turtle conservation projects
from £995 GBP
to £1195 GBP
Thousands of turtles come ashore each year to nest and lay eggs on the Pacific coast of Mexico. Each turtle will lay several eggs but the chances of a turtle hatchling making it to adult life are slim. The chances are made slimmer in Mexico due to human interference.
In Mexico turtle eggs are reputed to increase male potency and are often found served in restaurants as delicacies. Added to this, locals frequently kill adult turtles for meat and also for their shells which are used in making ornaments and jewellery.
To compound the problem adult turtles are under increasing threat from global pollution, particularly plastic refuse found floating in the sea or on the shore line. Adult turtles are regularly found washed ashore tangled in strips of discarded plastic refuse.
You will be located in the beautiful Banderas Bay about 100kms south of Puerto Vallarta. Global Volunteer Projects is working with a local NGO to help protect these rare turtles.
Four species of sea turtle come to nest in the area. Most of the turtles are Olive Ridley or Green Turtles with smaller numbers of Black Turtles nesting also. In the winter months (October to February) the mighty Leatherback Turtle (the largest of all sea turtles) comes to nest on these shores along with a limited number of Hawksbill Turtles.What will I do
Your job will be to collect the precious eggs from nesting sites, and put them in secure incubators, protecting them from predators, both animal and human! When the eggs are ready for hatching you will take them back out to their nests and monitor the hatchlings as they make their journey to the Pacific Ocean. Most of your work will involve camping on the beach, often in shifts, to monitor and protect the turtles coming ashore and the hatchlings making their perilous journey back into the Ocean.
Increasing the number of hatchlings that make it to this stage vastly increases the probability that more will make it to adult life and is vital to protecting the number of turtles in our Oceans.Important note regarding dates
Although this project is available throughout the year, the peak turtle nesting season is between late June and February. Outside of these months you will see fewer turtles but there will still be work to be done incubating the hatchlings, building secure nesting sites and protecting the hatchlings as they head out into the ocean. The incubation period of the eggs is up to 58 days, so turtles will still be hatching almost two months after the last egg has been laid so this work continues through to April.
In the months between April and July, the volunteers at the turtle camp make regular visits to the ocean to monitor the turtles, protecting their breeding sites and rescuing any turtles caught in discarded fishing nets or rubbish. During these months you will have plenty of work at the camp. You will do a trail walk once a week into the nearby rainforest to monitor the local ecosystem, help tend the nursery and green house, and help with the local reforestation work. In 2008 the turtle camp will start to build an Iguana farm.
Between November and March the volunteers at the turtle camp spend time helping with whale watching. Large numbers of Humpback whales come to Banderas Bay every year and you will spend time monitoring their numbers.
Last year volunteers at the turtle camp were involved in the rescue of an Orca calf that had been caught in fishing nets so even during the quiet season, there's plenty of work to be done at the camp.Accommodation
The turtle camp is a semi permanent settlement, made up of a number of large tents. Each function of the camp has it's own tent, for example the lab, the kitchen, the showers, the eating area and even the accommodation. Accommodation is usually in personal tents within a larger tent.
Electricity is provided by a generator and so is rationed and water has to be brought in so must be used sparingly. However, living conditions are comfortable but understandably basic.
There are compensations however! The camp has it's own pool, to help you cool off after a long day on turtle watch or releasing hatchlings and due to the absence of light polution in the area, there's also a powerful telescope for gazing at the stars on the clear nights.Weekends
The cost of the programme in Mexico includes Spanish Lessons. These will usually be conducted in the evenings. The lessons are basic and are designed for those with little or no Spanish. Those with good Spanish already can elect to skip these lessons.
Weekends are free which means that you can easily get together with other volunteers and go travelling at weekends.
Additional months are £495
All the time
This placement would suit:
those keen to work with animals or on marine conservation programmes.
Do you accept non UK citizens?
Do you accept applicants with disabilities?
food, airport pickup
Joining Global Volunteer Projects is as much about learning as it is about giving. As well as gaining work experience on journalism and medical projects, you’ll learn the local language and immerse in the local culture - maybe drumming in Ghana, or yoga in India. Teaching, conservation, orphanage placements also available.