One of the reasons sea turtles, like the hawksbill turtle, have become so endangered is because their eggs are stolen from seaside nests and sold on something of a black market. But now, Nicaragua has come up with a creative solution.
In northwest Nicaragua, Padre Ramos is called home to hawksbill turtles in need of a safe nesting place. It’s been a declared nature reserve since the mid 1980s, as it is one of the only nesting areas for the Eastern Pacific hawksbill.
Many Nicaraguans eat turtle eggs as a delicacy, and so many people will collect and sell the turtle eggs to make ends meet themselves.
Residents of Jiquilillo and Punto Venecia, villages that are located close to the estuary, have decided that instead of trying to pursue poachers as criminals, they will instead offer a better price on the eggs that are being stolen. That way the people are able to earn a living and the eggs can be protected and allowed to hatch.
The turtles obtained from former poachers are artificially incubated by volunteers. Once they’ve hatched, they’re placed in salt water buckets and carried to the seaside to be released.
It is difficult and often sad work. The 2017 hatching season is likely to see 30,000 baby turtles. Only 100 are expected to survive. Currently, the hatchery has a fundraising page and are asking for the public’s help to continue their incredible work.