Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Clemente Balladares

With the Project:
Sea turtle conservation in the Gulf of Paria

This initiative aims to preserve the local sea turtle population found on five main beaches of the Paria Gulf in Venezuela. It focuses on monitoring the growth and protection of three species of this reptile of which one of them is the most abundant but the most endangered as well. Sea turtles are important to the Paria Gulf’s ecosystem because of their role in the ocean ecosystem controlling the larva predator of fishes and coral reef competitors.


Sea Turtles are endangered species, with several species such as the hawksbills being the most at risk, especially in small colonies where environmental impacts can have larger effects than in huge nesting places. In Venezuela, only on the island called Isla de Aves one can find a big colony with more than 1,100 nests of green turtles per year, the rest of the places are small rookeries and the Gulf of Paria is one of them with less than 150 nests/year of hawksbills. According to recent studies, small colonies could be the answer to the effects of climate change on the population of sea turtles.


The local sea turtle population is preserved through the implementation of anti-poaching measures such as the strict patrolling of the main beaches and the spreading of environmental education among children. Another measure is the involvement in nest rescuing and the transfer of the turtles to a special nursery in the local town of Macuro. In addition, nesting data are gathered in combination with weather parameters.


Local people are encouraged to avoid sea turtle consumption through the use of examples of conservation studies and environmental education sessions in schools. Weather conditions are studied with the help of remote sensing technology as local weather stations are damaged. Since the beginning of the project in 2003, the Venezuelan Ministry of Environment has helped to build momentum as well as protect the sea turtles. This move has prompted studies about the effects of rainfall on the reptiles in order to better understand how the creatures can be protected while their population is increased.


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