Edition: August 2012

Conservation in ACTION

On the night of June 27 on Brasilon beach in southwestern Nicaragua, a green sea turtle hauled herself ashore, dragged herself up the beach to the treeline, dug her nest, laid her eggs, and went on a walkabout. Unlike other species of sea turtles who lay their eggs and head directly back to sea, green turtles wander around the beach, sometimes for hours.

As she began winding down, Paso Pacifico's turtle rangers covered the green turtle's eyes (turtles are very sensitive to light) and held her in place long enough to attach a SPOT5 satellite transmitter to her shell. Named Saralisa after Paso Pacifico's founders and directors Sarah Otterstrom and Liza Gonzalez, you can follow this green sea turtle — who has traveled all the way to Oaxaca, Mexico — on her tracking page at seaturtle.org.

Little is known about Eastern Pacific Greens outside of those nesting in Michoacan, Mexico, but we're learning more about green turtles and their migratory patterns every year. Not only are tagged turtles like Saralisa helping us understand green sea turtle populations, increased awareness of sea turtle conservation efforts means more citizen scientists reporting sightings of sea turtles. Earlier this month, the Coast News reported green turtle sightings off the southern coast of California, illustrating the contributions of dedicated watermen to ocean conservation.

Saralisa isn't the only turtle we're tracking right now. You can also follow Alexa, a hawksbill we tagged on Brasilon beach August 9th. Alexa was named for Alex Gaos, co-founder of ICAPO. She and Saralisa are the first two of six turtles we plan to tag this nesting season. We'll update our blog, Twitter feed, and Facebook page as we tag other turtles, but you can always check our project page at seaturtle.org. You can also sign up to receive daily turtle updates.

Paso Pacífico in the News

As most of our friends know, Carol Chambers, a wildlife ecologist from Northern Arizona University's School of Forestry spent the winter in Nicaragua studying bats. Carol helped us assemble a team of bat experts and aspiring bat scholars to survey the bat populations in Paso del Istmo, and they set a new species record!

The Arizona Daily Sun ran this story about Dr. Chambers, Paso Pacifico's Nicaraguan bat expert Arnulfo Medina Fitoria, and their surprising find: Phylloderma stenops, the pale-faced bat (pictured below), which had never been documented in Nicaragua before.

We're grateful for the support of Bat Conservation International whose support made this discovery possible.

Partnerships make it possible

Saralisa's contributions to science are made possible by the many people and organizations cooperating to tag and track Saralisa and other sea turtles. Among the first to support our sea turtle conservation efforts, Alex Gaos and his colleagues at ICAPO (the Eastern Pacific Hawksbill Initiative) help us protect solitary nesting beaches and tag critically endangered Hawksbills.

For sea turtle expertise, we also rely on Randall Arauz of PRETOMA, Cynthia Lagueux of the Wildlife Conservation Society, and Jeff Seminoff of NOAA. For satellite tracking, of course, we rely on seaturtle.org.

Finally, we have DANIDA to thank for the satellite transmitters themselves. DANIDA (the Danish International Cooperation Agency) has been a strong supporter of our Coastal Marine Research Project to map reefs and turtle habitat, train turtle rangers and marine biologists, and establish turtle-friendly sustainable fisheries.

All of these partners help us protect newly discovered turtle nesting beaches, allowing more critically endangered sea turtles to safely nest than ever before.

Team member spotlight

Marvin Chevez has been a member of the Paso Pacifico team since 2007, when he began as an eco-tour guide. After getting promoted to guardaparque (park ranger) status, Marvin was chosen to represent Nicaragua in the SEED program, attending Mt. Hood Community College to study natural resource management.

Home from two years of hands-on training in environmental restoration and community development, Marvin is eager to help his friends and neighbors in Ostional. Building on what he learned in Oregon, Marvin is helping us launch new efforts in watershed restoration, reforestation, and coastal conservation.

Name a sea turtle!

Donate to our sea turtle conservation program and help us name a sea turtle. When you make your donation, we'll ask you to give us your top pick for a sea turtle name. We'll also ask you to provide an email address so we can send you the ballot. Once the tag is in place, you'll be able to follow the turtle you named on her tracking page at seaturtle.org.

Donate $50 today to join our sea turtle naming committee.

Tell your friends about us!

Forward this newsletter or share it on Facebook.

Marvin Chevez is just one of several Paso Pacifico rangers who have been selected to represent Nicaragua internationally.

Salvador Sanchez, who coordinates our turtle rangers, was recently chosen to be the fourth of our team members to attend the Latin American regional ranger training program in Argentina.

For the continued success and international recognition of our ranger programs, we owe a special thanks to former Paso Pacifico board member, Rick Smith, and to the Turner Foundation for their knowledge and generous support.

Our community-based turtle rangers form "the thin green line" between critically endangered sea turtles and poachers, helping thousands of baby turtles to the sea each year.

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