Building Capacity for a Community-Based Marine Turtle Conservation Model

Stephanie J. Rousso

Other projects

15 Jul 2013

Building Capacity for a Community-Based Marine Turtle Tourism Conservation Model

16 Feb 2015

Creation of a Model for Conservation Tourism through Community-based Research and Outreach

4 Jul 2018

Enhancing the Community-Based Sea Turtle Conservation Model

20 May 2021

A Blue Economy Approach to Support Community-Based Sea Turtle Conservation

We aim to build capacity for local communities to collaborate and participate in actual scientific research that leads to stronger more effective conversation strategies for sea turtles.


Sea turtle conservation is a collaborative effort. By engaging local communities in reporting sea turtle sightings, we not only receive concerted citizen science data but we also encourage a sense of ownership in the recovery efforts of five species of sea turtles that inhabit the region. This booster grant aims to increase community participation in reporting incidental sea turtle sightings combined with scientific research and academic education. By combining scientific and community data, we effectively develop a larger database that will help natural resource managers better understand the regional distribution and habitat use of sea turtles. We are expanding our efforts to include not only in-situ nest locations but also in-water sightings where juveniles and adults spend years and even decades foraging.

The sea turtle whereabouts will be mapped and analysed to better understand the habitat usage of sea turtles and how their usage corresponds to existing protected areas versus high-risk areas. Then, we can review and propose stronger conservation protection strategies for areas not under current protection and modify protected areas to better serve the recovery of five species of sea turtles.

Another important aspect of our work is education for conservation. We acknowledge that to achieve long-term sustainable conservation, we need to train and recruit the next generation as conservation advocates. We are realizing this by taking local university students into the field with us to learn and develop research ideas of their own, which ensures a continuation of our efforts. We are collaborate with the Mexican National Protected Natural Areas Commission to encourage participation from tourists, locals, sailboats, and other groups who frequently encounter sea turtles either free swimming, nesting, or stranded to help report and collect data as extra eyes on the water. Our biggest challenge with this booster grant is the success of developing a volunteer rescue and recovery volunteer program to help supplement the lack of resources and staff of the current wildlife enforcement agency.

We sincerely thank Rufford for this Booster grant and are eager to continue our research and education for the collaborated conservation of sea turtles. As the final product of this journey, we will be creating an interactive conservation tool: “Community-based Model for the Conservation of Eastern Pacific Sea Turtles” which will include positive action items for scientific-based, effective conservation strategies.

Project Updates