Caribbean Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leadership Program

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As part of the Caribbean Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leadership Program (C-EWCL), Felicity Burrows from The Nature Conservancy, Northern Caribbean Program has been working for over a year with team members from various Caribbean countries to advance sea turtle conservation in Limon, Costa Rica with local partner Costa Rica Wildlife Sanctuary. The goal of the team’s effort is to address the threat of  illegal poaching of sea turtles and their eggs as well as threats to conservation workers while working in the field.  In some countries, including Costa Rica, sea turtle eggs (Photo 1) are considered a valuable commodity on the black market. In addition to local laws that protect sea turtles, conservationists have exerted every effort to safeguard this threatened species so that populations can be sustained  (Photo 2). Because of the relatively high monetary value of sea turtle eggs, conservationists unfortunately encounter poachers that make violent threats to people while in the field. Some of the threats made are simply verbal but can be escalated to incredibly unsafe levels resulting in physical harm to individuals. An example of this was seen in 2013 when sea turtle conservationist, Jairo Mora, was brutally murdered by poachers on Moin Beach. The Sea Turtle C-EWCL group is now working to develop an effective safety protocol that can help to protect sea turtle conservationists while working in the field. To ensure the most effective protective measures are identified and used to develop the safety protocol, the Sea Turtle C-EWCL group is reaching out to persons that have and still work with sea turtles for information. A request to participate in an online survey to gather relevant information will be circulated to interested persons. Therefore if you wish to participate in the survey to help with the development of this much needed safety protocol or wish to find out more about C-EWCL’s efforts, please email