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12 Grants Awarded to Sea Turtle Conservation Projects Worldwide

By Ashleigh Bandimere

Oceanic Society is proud to announce 12 small grants to sea turtle conservation projects in Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, and the United States. Oceanic Society has awarded the grants as part of our global State of the World's Sea Turtles (SWOT) Program.

Since 2006, SWOT’s small grants have helped field-based partners around the world to realize an array of important research and conservation goals. To date, 104 grants have been awarded to 88 applicants in more than 52 countries and territories for work addressing three key themes: (a) networking and capacity building, (b) science, and (c) education and outreach.

For the second year, we have partnered with the Association of Zoos & Aquariums and their Sea Turtle SAFE (Save Animals from Extinction) Program to make six additional grants available for projects focused on the conservation of two of the top global priorities for sea turtle conservation: eastern Pacific leatherbacks and Kemp’s ridleys.

The following are brief overviews of our 2020 grantees. Projects marked with an (*) were awarded as part of the AZA-SAFE partnership. Click here to learn more about the AZA-SAFE program.

  1. * The Mazunte Project (Mexico) to conduct mobile dog spay/neuter and education events along the Pacific coast of Oaxaca in order to decrease canine predation of sea turtles, eggs, and hatchlings on important nesting beaches for east Pacific leatherbacks.
  2. * Palmarito Sea Turtle Rescue, Inc. (Mexico) to establish hatcheries and train local volunteers to patrol nesting beaches and properly relocate and monitor east Pacific leatherback nests to protected hatcheries.
  3. * Sea Turtle Recovery (USA) to train and support local volunteers to increase response efforts for stranded sea turtles, including critically endangered Kemp’s ridleys, in New Jersey.
  4. * Marine Conservation without Borders (Mexico) for the development of middle school science curricula on sea turtles, focusing on east Pacific leatherbacks and Kemp’s ridleys, written in Spanish and English, and ethno-translated into Maya.
  5. * Universidad Veracruzana (Mexico) to conduct an educational workshop in conjunction with park administration, local fishermen, and private tourist boats to decrease sea turtle boat strikes in the Veracruzan Reef System National Park.
  6. * Patricia Huerta Rodríguez (Mexico) to conduct environmental education activities including presentations and printed materials about pollution, consumption of turtle eggs, bycatch reduction technology, and nesting beach protection along the Tamaulipas coast.
  7. Czech University of Life Sciences Prague and the Faculty of Veterinary Studies and Centre for Wildlife Studies at Syiah Kuala University (Indonesia) to investigate trade patterns and domestic tortoiseshell markets on Sumatra and its islands, where the harvest of hawksbill turtle for tortoiseshell still occurs on a considerable scale.
  8. The Solon Foundation (TSF) (Sierra Leone) to conduct sea turtle awareness training programs in the Turtle Islands aimed at reducing consumption, protecting and monitoring nesting sites and hatchlings, and the creation of policies in support of a National Marine Protected Area.
  9. ecOceanica (Peru) to reduce hawksbill turtle mortality in Cancas and Punta Mero by creating partnerships with local communities, developing a sea turtle conservation strategy, and increasing public awareness and knowledge of environmental issues through place-based education and citizen science.
  10. Ocean Connectors (Mexico) to reach 800 students in Nayarit through the “Sea Turtle Discovery Program” to cultivate a future generation of passionate, globally-aware, and empowered coastal residents who take active steps to enjoy and protect sea turtles and support ocean health.
  11. Bio Conservation Society (BCSL) (Sri Lanka) to conduct surveys to estimate the scale of olive ridley turtle nesting on a 5 km beach at Kandakuliya.
  12. African Chelonian Institute (Senegal) to host inaugural “National Sea Turtle Days” that will be held in the coastal towns of Joal-Fadiouth and Palmarin to raise awareness about sea turtles and ocean pollution with special attention to plastic waste.

Congratulations to all of the 2020 grantees! Please visit www.SeaTurtleStatus.org/grants for more information about these and all past SWOT grant recipients, as well as application instructions and details.


Ashleigh Bandimere is Oceanic Society's sea turtle program coordinator. Ashleigh earned a Bachelor’s in Biology from the Santa Clara University and a Master’s in Biodiversity and Conservation from the CSIC in Spain, and has dedicated her post-graduation career to sea turtle conservation. Her personal and professional interests are sustainable travel and spreading appreciation and respect for marine ecosystems and biodiversity.


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