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Billion Baby Turtles Initiative Surpasses 1 Million Endangered Sea Turtle Hatchlings Saved
BEAVERTON, OR, Nov. 1, 2017 - Billion Baby Turtles has helped conservation organizations across Latin America save more than one million sea turtle hatchlings. Recent research has shown that when sea turtle nesting beaches are protected, endangered populations can recover. Billion Baby Turtles, an initiative of the conservation organization SEE Turtles, brings together sponsors, patrons, schools, and travelers to raise funds that go to helping grassroots organizations that work on important turtle nesting beaches to protect turtles, their eggs, and their hatchlings from poaching.
Since 2013 the initiative has helped save approximately 1.2 million hatchlings by giving more than $200,000 in grants to 17 organizations in 9 Latin American countries. For every dollar donated more than 4 hatchlings have been saved and roughly 90 cents of every dollar have gone to conservation efforts. Grants have supported programs restoring five of the seven species of sea turtles found around the world.
“The goal to save a billion baby sea turtles is wildly ambitious, and through the dedicated leadership of SEE Turtles we now know it’s totally within reach,” said David Godfrey, executive director of the Sea Turtle Conservancy. “It’s very exciting to see the campaign surpass a million saved hatchlings. STC is proud to be helping SEE Turtles reach its lofty goal through a nest protection program we’re carrying out in Panama with funding from the Billion Baby Turtles initiative.”
Protecting nests and hatchlings not only helps to bring endangered sea turtle species back from the brink of extinction, it also helps other species by increasing sources of food for birds, fish, crabs, and other animals. In addition, turtle watching has become an important source of income for many coastal communities and observing and participating in saving sea turtles and hatchlings has been shown to have emotional benefits for travelers and local residents alike at turtle nesting beaches.
Billion Baby Turtles has provided nearly 50 grants to date, ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. The initiative prioritizes small, community-based organizations working to protect beaches that have few other sources of funding and focuses on the most endangered populations of sea turtles. The largest numbers of hatchlings protected have been at Colola Beach, Mexico, where researchers from the University of Michoacan have worked for decades to bring the East Pacific green turtle back from near extinction. Our support has helped to save more than 600,000 hatchlings at this beach. Last year the East Pacific green turtle was downlisted, a sign of a positive trend towards recovery.
Funds are raised from a variety of sources including business sponsors, SEE Turtles conservation tours, individual donors, schools, foundations, and sales from the SEE Turtles online store. Sponsors have provided roughly half of the more than $200,000 raised, while tour income and individual donations have provided 15-20% each. 2017 was the best year yet for the initiative, with more than 400,000 hatchlings protected, an increase of nearly 25 percent from 2016.
About SEE Turtles
SEE Turtles launched in 2008 as the world’s first conservation program aimed at protecting sea turtles through conservation tourism. Our conservation tours have taken more than 1,000 travelers and volunteers to visit and participate in locally- run conservation programs around Latin America and have generated nearly $1 million for conservation and local communities and contributed more than 4,000 volunteer work shifts. Our school programs have created free educational resources for teachers, educated more than 10,000 students, and trained more than 100 teachers. Our recently launched Too Rare To Wear campaign has brought together more than 80 tourism and conservation organizations to help end the demand for turtleshell jewelry in the tourism industry.
President, SEE Turtles firstname.lastname@example.org 800.215.0378
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