Although it has been illegal to kill sea turtles in Mexico since 1990, poaching for human consumption remains a major threat to the recovery of these endangered species. The most common reasons for poaching include direct economic benefits from the sale of turtle meat and other products, lack of law enforcement, and the ease of bribing authorities. Strong cultural traditions promoting the consumption of turtles exacerbate the problem, as do family and extended social networks that cut across poaching and enforcement communities, reducing the likelihood of legal sanctions. Corruption, largely in the form of bribery, facilitates this illegal sea turtle take and trade.
Author(s): Alonso A. Aguirre and Wallace J. Nichols
Publication Date: 2020
Download File from Portal: Practice-Note-The-Conservation-Mosaic-Approach-to-Reduce-Corruption-and-the-Illicit-Sea-Turtle-Take-and-Trade.pdf — PDF document, 1,395 kB (1,428,761 bytes)
Grupo Tortuguero de las Californias (GTC – the Sea Turtle Conservation Network of the Californias), a sea turtle conservation effort in Baja California, is an example of a “conservation mosaic” approach to address declining turtle populations, poaching and related corruption.
GTC is an example of using “soft power” approaches as an alternative to “hard enforcement,” which was unlikely to be successful due to the complex of community dynamics, institutional weaknesses, and criminal factors that drive sea turtle take and related corruption in the region.
“Soft power” included community-based monitoring, an extensive education and communications strategy to enhance environmental literacy and cooperation between communities and authorities, and community-based research.
Though reducing corruption was not an explicit objective of the initiative, the case highlights how community involvement in conservation efforts, alongside the state’s policy-setting role, can address some of the conditions that encourage corruption and endanger conservation outcomes.
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