Sea Turtle Conservancy

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The Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC), formerly known as Caribbean Conservation Corporation is an American not-for-profit 501(c)(3) membership organization based in Gainesville, Florida. STC was incorporated, based on an earlier informal organization known as The Brotherhood of the Green Turtle, [1] in 1959 by Joshua B. Powers in response to renowned ecologist Dr. Archie Carr's award-winning book, The Windward Road , which first alerted the world to the plight of sea turtles. [2] Carr served as Scientific Director of STC from 1959 until his death in 1987. [3] Since its founding, STC's research and conservation initiatives have been instrumental in saving the Caribbean green sea turtle from immediate extinction, [4] as well as raising awareness and protection for sea turtles across the globe with 50 years of experience in national and international sea turtle conservation, research and educational endeavors. [5] The organization began its work in Costa Rica, [6] but has expanded its research and conservation efforts throughout Central America and the wider Caribbean.


Habitat Preservation & Advocacy

STC works to enact protective laws and establish refuges for the preservation of sea turtle habitats and coastal environments. The organization was instrumental in creating the Tortuguero National Park in Costa Rica. In the United States, STC worked with other groups and agencies to establish the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge in Melbourne, Florida and continues to lobby Congress and government agencies to purchase the lands necessary to complete the refuge. STC's international efforts include advocating for sea turtles at the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, and protecting one of the most important sea turtle nesting beaches in the world by helping prevent off-shore oil-drilling in Costa Rica. [7]


STC continues the work of Dr. Archie Carr every year on the 35 km black sand beach of Tortuguero, Costa Rica, the nesting site of more endangered green sea turtles than anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere. For more than 40 years, this monitoring program has provided much information on the reproductive ecology and migratory habits of sea turtles. Researchers, who are based at STC's John H. Phipps Biological Field Station, continue to monitor nesting trends, growth rates and reproductive success. [8] [9]

Chiriquí Beach

In 2003, STC began working to protect and restore the once globally significant hawksbill sea turtle nesting population at Chiriquí Beach, Panama. The program consists of intensive monitoring of hawksbill and leatherback sea turtle nesting activity, protection of nesting females and their nests, and public education in the region. [10]

Other Research

STC has supported hundreds of research projects on the biology and conservation of sea turtles around the world. Recent studies have focused on impacts of tourism on nesting beaches, the levels of turtle harvesting at feeding grounds, satellite tracking of turtles, and monitoring of juvenile turtles around Bermuda.

Birds of Tortuguero

STC also supports a bird banding and monitoring project that was begun in Tortuguero in 1991 as part of the "Partners in Flight" program, in association with Costa Rican and North American ornithologists. Resident and neotropical migrant bird species are surveyed in natural and disturbed habitats of the area and vital statistics are collected. The project also seeks to train Latin American wildlife biologists in ornithological field techniques. [11]

Education and Training

STC works with coastal residents, businesses, conservationists and governments to increase awareness of the threats facing sea turtles, including coastal development, pollution, poaching and accidental capture in nets. STSL developed an educational program that uses the internet to allow school children and others around the world to learn about sea turtles as they follow the movements of turtles being tracked by satellite. More than 300,000 children around the world have been reached by this program already.[ citation needed ]

In Tortuguero, Costa Rica, STC operates the H. Clay Frick Natural History Visitor Center to inform the more than 40,000 people who visit every year about the importance of the region's habitats to the survival of sea turtles, manatees and other tropical wildlife.[ citation needed ]

The STC is also a partner in a new environmental education center at the heart of Eastern Florida's Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge.


STC provides training in the management and stewardship of sea turtles and coastal ecosystems. Graduates of previous training programs now lead conservation efforts in over 25 countries around the world.[ citation needed ]

See also

Related Research Articles

Sea turtle Reptiles of the superfamily Chelonioidea

Sea turtles, sometimes called marine turtles, are reptiles of the order Testudines and of the suborder Cryptodira. The seven existing species of sea turtles are the green sea turtle, loggerhead sea turtle, Kemp's ridley sea turtle, olive ridley sea turtle, hawksbill sea turtle, flatback sea turtle, and leatherback sea turtle.

Leatherback sea turtle Species of marine reptile in the family Chelonidae

The leatherback sea turtle, sometimes called the lute turtle or leathery turtle or simply the luth, is the largest of all living turtles and is the fourth-heaviest modern reptile behind three crocodilians. It is the only living species in the genus Dermochelys and family Dermochelyidae. It can easily be differentiated from other modern sea turtles by its lack of a bony shell, hence the name. Instead, its carapace is covered by skin and oily flesh.

Olive ridley sea turtle The most abundant living sea turtle in the world

The olive ridley sea turtle, also known commonly as the Pacific ridley sea turtle, is a species of turtle in the family Cheloniidae. The species is the second smallest and most abundant of all sea turtles found in the world. Lepidochelys olivacea is found in warm and tropical waters, primarily in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, but also in the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Archie Carr

Archie Fairly Carr, Jr. was an American herpetologist, ecologist and a pioneering conservationist. He was a Professor of Zoology at the University of Florida. In 1987 he was awarded the Eminent Ecologist Award by the Ecological Society of America. He made extraordinary contribution to sea turtle conservation by way of bringing attention to the world's declining turtle populations due to over-exploitation and loss of safe habitat.

Green sea turtle Species of large sea reptile of the family Cheloniidae

The green sea turtle, also known as the green turtle, black (sea) turtle or Pacific green turtle, is a species of large sea turtle of the family Cheloniidae. It is the only species in the genus Chelonia. Its range extends throughout tropical and subtropical seas around the world, with two distinct populations in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, but it is also found in the Indian Ocean. The common name refers to the usually green fat found beneath its carapace, not to the color of its carapace, which is olive to black.

Tortuguero, Costa Rica

Tortuguero is a village on the Northern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica in the Limón Province. The small village, which can be reached only by boat or airplane, is sustained almost entirely by eco-tourism. The population is estimated at around 1200-1500. Tortuguero can be translated as Land of Turtles, and gave its name to the neighboring Tortuguero National Park. The village is situated on a sand bar island, separated from the mainland by Tortuguero River and bordering the Caribbean Sea. Tortuguero is renowned for its navigable canals that run through the rainforest in the national park, and has such earned the nickname of 'Central America's Amazon'.

Camaronal Wildlife Refuge

The Camaronal Wildlife Refuge is a Wildlife refuge of Costa Rica, part of the Tempisque Conservation Area, on the Pacific Coast of the Nicoya Peninsula.

Dr. Archie Carr Wildlife Refuge

Dr. Archie Carr Wildlife Refuge is a wildlife refuge located within the Tortuguero Conservation Area, in the Limón Province of northeastern Costa Rica. The refuge is located north of the village of Tortuguero, between the Barra del Colorado Wildlife Refuge and the Tortuguero National Park. It is named after Dr. Archie Carr, who set up the Caribbean Conservation Corporation in the same area in 1955.

Key West National Wildlife Refuge

The Key West National Wildlife Refuge is a 189,497 acre (766.867 km2) National Wildlife Refuge located in Monroe County, Florida, between Key West, Florida and the Dry Tortugas. Only 2,019 acres (8.171 km2) of land are above sea level, on several keys within the refuge. These keys are unpopulated and are also designated as Wilderness within the Florida Keys Wilderness. The refuge was established to provide a preserve and breeding ground for native birds and other wildlife as well as to provide habitat and protection for endangered and threatened fish, wildlife, plants and migratory birds.

Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge

The Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge is part of the United States National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) System, located along a twenty-mile (30 km) section of coastline from Melbourne Beach to Wabasso Beach, Florida along State Road A1A. The 900 acre (3.6 km2) refuge was established in 1991, to protect the loggerhead and green sea turtles.

The Padre Ramos Estuary Natural Reserve is located on the northwest Pacific coast of Nicaragua, in the municipality El Viejo in the department of Chinandega. It is one of 78 protected areas of Nicaragua and is managed by Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (MARENA). Estero Padre Ramos consists of a large mangrove estuary surrounded by several small beach communities, the largest of which is the town of Padre Ramos. The area's natural environment is home to a number of species of migratory and resident birds, fishes, crustaceans, sea turtles and other wildlife. While increasing in popularity as a tourist destination, tourism remains relatively well controlled in the area.

Playona Acandí Fauna and Flora Sanctuary

Playona Acandí Fauna and Flora Sanctuary is one of eleven new national parks in Colombia. It is the home of the Cana Turtle. This park is on the Caribbean coast of the Department of Chocó. The Playon Playona Acandí Fauna and Flora Sanctuary is a strategic area for the survival of the hawksbill and leatherback turtles, the latter considered to be the world's largest sea turtle.

Hawksbill sea turtle Species of marine reptile in the family Chelonidae

The hawksbill sea turtle is a critically endangered sea turtle belonging to the family Cheloniidae. It is the only extant species in the genus Eretmochelys. The species has a worldwide distribution, with Atlantic and Indo-Pacific subspecies—E. i. imbricata and E. i. bissa, respectively.

Ecology Project International is a non-profit organization based in Missoula, Montana, dedicated to developing place-based, ecological education partnerships between local experts and youth to address conservation issues. Ecology Project International (EPI) works with students and educators at seven program sites around the world: Belize, Costa Rica, mainland Ecuador, Galápagos Islands, Hawaii, Mexico, and Yellowstone.

Threats to sea turtles

Threats to sea turtles are numerous and have caused many sea turtle species to be endangered. Of the seven extant species of sea turtles, six in the family Cheloniidae and one in the family Dermochelyidae, all are listed on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. The list classifies six species of sea turtle as "threatened", two of them as "critically endangered", one as "endangered" and three as "vulnerable". The flatback sea turtle is classified as "data deficient" which means that there is insufficient information available for a proper assessment of conservation status. Although sea turtles usually lay around one hundred eggs at a time, on average only one of the eggs from the nest will survive to adulthood. While many of the things that endanger these hatchlings are natural, such as predators including sharks, raccoons, foxes, and seagulls, many new threats to the sea turtle species have recently arrived and with

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Tortuguero National Park

Tortuguero National Park is a national park in the Limón Province of Costa Rica. It is situated within the Tortuguero Conservation Area of the northeastern part of the country. Despite its remote location, reachable only by airplane or boat, it is the third-most visited park in Costa Rica. The park has a large variety of biological diversity due to the existence within the reserve of eleven different habitats, including rainforest, mangrove forests, swamps, beaches, and lagoons. Located in a tropical climate, it is very humid, and receives up to 250 inches (6,400 mm) of rain a year.

St Croix East End Marine Park

The St. Croix East End Marine Park (STXEEMP) was established to “protect territorially significant marine resources, and promote sustainability of marine ecosystems, including coral reefs, sea grass beds, wildlife habitats and other resources, and to conserve and preserve significant natural areas for the use and benefit of future generations.” It is the U.S. Virgin Islands’ first territorially designated and managed marine protected area (MPA).

Bocas del Toro-San Bastimentos Island-San Blas mangroves

The Bocas del Toro-San Bastimentos Island-San Blas mangroves ecoregion covers the mangrove habitats along the Caribbean Sea coast of Costa Rica and across the northern coast of Panama. An offshore reef and barrier islands of the region help protect the mangroves from destructive waves. The ecoregion has a high number of endangered and threatened species, including the loggerhead sea turtle, green sea turtle, and hawk's bill sea turtle.

Rio Negro-Rio San Sun mangroves

The Rio Negro-Rio San Sun mangroves ecoregion covers a series of small of discontinuous mangrove forests on the Caribbean Sea coast of Costa Rica, from a small portion inside the border with Nicaragua in the west to the border with Panama in the east. The coast on this stretch is a flat, alluvial plain, and mangroves are only a small part of a diverse patchwork of local habitats including swamps, mixed rainforests, coastal lagoons, sea grass beds, and sandy beaches. Much of the territory is "blackwater river" in character - slow-moving channels in wooded swamps with water stained by decayed matter. These mangroves are periodically damaged by hurricanes, such as in 1988 from Hurricane Joan, but are able to regenerate.


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