As part of its citizen science program for the protection of green sea turtles, our Galapagos Eco-club, Mola Mola, recently installed an informational sign about the turtles at the main entrance of Tortuga Bay beach. It’s estimated that 96,000 people visit this beach on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos every year, so the sign has the potential to make a major impact on locals’ and visitors’ knowledge of sea turtles and the conservation of their ecosystems.
Why This Beach?
Tortuga Bay is an important nesting area for green sea turtles, an endangered species with continued population decline. Green turtles, like other sea turtle species, are particularly vulnerability to anthropogenic impacts during all life-stages: from eggs to adults. Egg and turtle harvesting and habitat degradation – both of the beach and ocean – play a large role in the turtle’s population decline.
Why Green Sea Turtles?
Green sea turtles are the only turtles that nest on Galapagos. Just off of the islands, you might be lucky enough to see hawksbill or olive ridley snacking on marine life or a leatherback passing through during its migration.
Not only are the Mola Mola youth installing signs and giving small informative talks to local visitors, they also flag nests to protect them. One of the youth, Camila, recently won a Leadership Award to complete a high school research project that examines the effects of beach erosion on green sea turtle nesting at the Bay.
At the end of the nesting season, the EPI Galapagos program and the Mola Molas will host a public festival to celebrate their achievements, show off the results of their citizen science program, and create even more solidarity among the community around green sea turtle conservation.
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