The project monitors and protects sea turtle populations by collecting data, placing eggs in safe hatcheries and patrolling the beaches to reduce the likelihood of poaching.
Hatchery duty – This involves monitoring the hatchery site at regular intervals to check for any new arrivals (baby turtles which have hatched)! You will record data on the number of new hatchlings and then release them into the ocean. This is an incredible experience as there are often around 100 hatchlings in a single nest.
Night patrol – Every evening the beaches need to be patrolled to reduce the likelihood of poaching; volunteers will assist a research assistant or member of staff with this and walk the length of the beach keeping an eye out for any adult turtles making their way to land in order to nest. If you do encounter a nesting female, you will help to collect data on her and catch her eggs in order to place them in the hatchery to avoid the risk of them being poached or taken by animals.
Other roles – There are long term research assistants at the project who each carry out their own specific piece of research as well as the long term project research.
How is the project making a difference?
For over 15 years, the project has been working closely with the local community to educate them on the importance of protecting sea turtles and conserving these species. During this time they have protected and released hundreds of thousands of hatchlings.
The night patrols have had a remarkably positive impact, seeing a drop of around 80% in the number of nests that have been poached in the area.
Olive Ridley turtles which account for around 90% of all turtle encounters in the area, are categorised as ‘vulnerable’ according to the IUCN Red List of Endangered species so their protection is vitally important. There is also a lack of data about this species and so the data that the project collects is incredibly important for building this knowledge base.