Beach Cleanup Facilitates Incubation of Sea Turtle Eggs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SAN SALVADOR– With support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Initiative for the Americas Fund (FIAES), and the Doménech Foundation – through their Sea Turtle Conservation in the Costa del Sol Project (Callotl) – a beach cleanup activity was held along one kilometer of the Costa del Sol beach to facilitate sea turtles incubation. Members of community development associations, the Turtle Egg Collectors’ Association of Los Blancos, and students from the El Mozote public school participated in the activity to celebrate Earth Day. During the cleanup, 16 bags filled with inorganic waste were collected, five of which were filled with glass
Salvadoran beaches are a desirable place for sea turtles to nest due to the rich natural resources of the Salvadoran coast: coral reefs, mangroves, and a variety of wildlife. Because of this, El Salvador provides an enticing environment for four of the world’s seven species of sea turtle: Eretmochelys imbricata (Hawksbill), Dermochelys coriacea (Leatherback), Chelonia mydas agassizi (East Pacific Green Turtle) and Lepidochelys olivacea (Leatherback). According to the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), these species are in critical danger (in the case of the Hawksbill and Leatherback) or in danger of extinction. Human beings are their principal predator due to poaching practices and the sale of turtle eggs for consumption.
This is why FIAES and the Doménech Foundation are carrying out the Callotl Project, with a total value of $148,048 ($92,142 from FIAES funds and $55,906 from the Doménech Foundation), over the period spanning from February to October of 2012.
Callotl’s mission is to contribute to the conservation of sea turtles by establishing two incubation corrals on the beaches of the El Zapote and Los Blancos villages in the Costa del Sol. As part of this project, research activities are carried out, as well as activities to implement an environmental education and awareness campaign. The benefited communities are the El Zapote village (La puntilla, El Zapote, Cuatro Vientos, Playa Dorada, Isla El Cordoncillo, El Conchalito) and the Los Blancos village (Los Blancos, El Mozote, Bordo Chele, Buen Samaritano).
With the support of the project, 96,960 turtle eggs have been buried in the sand in two incubation corrals in the El Zapote and Los Blancos villages. Additionally, 81,724 newborn sea turtles have been released into the sea, and 351 egg collectors have been identified and given egg collection licenses. Additionally, 1,259 students from eight schools participated in educational activities last year to learn about sea turtle biology. This year, the students will participate in educational activities about climate change and risk management. More than 6,000 people in the project’s geographical area have benefitted indirectly through economic strengthening from the collection of sea turtle eggs, as well as from educational activities and activities that promote sustainable development in the Costa del Sol communities.
FIAES was created from a bilateral agreement between the governments of El Salvador and the United States to pardon approximately $464 million in external debt, with $150 million left to be paid. The proposal was ratified in 1993, stating that El Salvador would pay approximately $41.2 million of the interest on the debt over 20 years and creating a sinking fund to finance environmental and child survival projects, under the administration of FIAES and in close collaboration with USAID. In recognition of FIAES’ work, new funds of $14.4 million were awarded in 2001, to be invested over a period of 25 years.