Capacity building for the research and conservation of Endangered sea turtles in Venezuela and Colombia
Hedelvy J. Guada
This follow-up project will continue work in northern Peninsula de Paria, Venezuela and the San Andres Archipelago and Islas del Rosario, Colombia. A team of ten students, professionals and NGO staff will undertake field research, conservation, awareness raising and training activities. The aim is to protect from extinction and promote recovery of breeding populations of five highly threatened Marine Turtle species. The Hawksbill turtle is considered Critically Endangered and the Green (Chelonia mydas), Loggerhead (Caretta caretta), Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) and Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) turtles are all listed as Endangered. Research will fill in vital gaps in the knowledge of the species ecology, status and distribution. In Venezuela activities will follow a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) species recovery action plan, whereas in Colombia the team will provide a valuable contribution to the compilation of an equivalent plan. A major component of the project is technical training and environmental education workshops and the involvement of people local to the breeding sites in talks and fieldwork. Finally there will be extensive publicity about the project and presentation of results to all stakeholders within the two countries.