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Galapagos Volunteers Protect Sea Turtles and Fight Plastic Pollution

April 16, 2018

Sea turtle conservation

A total of 222 children, youth, and adults — both residents and tourists from Galapagos — participated in the Environmental Education Program for the Protection of the Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) with the Galapagos National Park Directorate (GNPD), in collaboration with Ecology Project International, on Tortuga Bay, Santa Cruz Island.

Park ranger and environmental educator María Luisa Buitrón explained that this initiative involves the detection, marking, protection and monitoring of sea turtle nests. Later, when the hatchling turtles have already made their way to the sea, the monitored nests are excavated to determine the hatching percentage of the eggs that were within.

Additionally, pellets (raw material to make plastic) and microplastics (plastic objects in the process of disintegration) were collected on the coastal edge of Tortuga Bay, and the beach profile was analyzed to measure the erosion and inclination of the dunes monthly to determine any impact on the nesting of the turtles.

“Working for conservation was always a dream for me until I had the opportunity to join this community sea turtle monitoring. Realizing what it means to be such a small animal, facing many threats to survive, made me want to protect this species and get more people involved to learn and value nature,” said Ibrahí Rodríguez, a young Galapagos volunteer who has been helping with the project for the past four years.

New GNPD Director Jorge Carrión commented, “2018 is the year of fighting plastic pollution. We are investing time and resources, both human and economic, to reduce the amount of plastic that is contaminating our beaches.” 

 

Content based on a release from the Galapagos National Park Directorate, translated with their permission. Photo © GNPD. 

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