Volunteers conserve endangered sea turtles in remote Panama

This image is about sea turtles in remote Panama

Iver Valencia goes out to stroll a stretch of Panamanian beach at dusk every night during the nesting season with a group of lantern-wielding villagers.

Their mission: to find nests where Kemp’s ridley sea turtles endangered lay their eggs and bring them to a predator-safe hatchery. On the latest night, Valencia and the others discovered five nests with dozens of eggs in the distant Darien province in southeastern Panama. Valencia, 57, who came here as a teenager from a town near Colombia, has been doing this for 18 years in the face of poacher threats. The drug traffickers who also ply this jungle complicated the job further.

Jaque, a 2,000-strong town, is reached only by air or sea. Valencia and his allies constructed a wood-shaded hatchery here. Inside, they put the eggs in baskets wherein two months ‘ time they will hatch. Then it will release the baby turtles to the ocean. While the state has helped build the hatchery, the patrols are purely a voluntary community effort by Valencia, the pastor of a local evangelical church, and his peers. The patrols take place during the nesting season from May to December, peaking in September, October, and November. They constructed the hatchery near a border police station where officials on their weekly collections attempt to avoid poaching and safeguard the volunteers. The volunteers often wander far into the night, so if they run into thieves or smugglers, they prefer to go with National Borders Service officials. The eggs are taken to be placed in this location from the beach, “said Valencia.” Just because individuals here are not aware of defending the blessing that the tortoises come here to lay their eggs. They’re eating them instead, selling them.

The primary predator is always guy for me, Valencia also said, though the eggs are also eaten by dogs, birds, and crabs. Volunteers preserve endangered sea turtles in distant Panama In this photograph of September 21, 2019, a ridley sea turtle from Kemp arrives to lay her eggs on a beach in Jaque, Panama. On a latest night, volunteers in southeastern Panama’s distant province of Darien discovered five nests with dozens of sea turtle eggs.

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