Sea Turtle Project
Sea turtles inhabit tropical, subtropical and, to a lesser extent, temperate ocean waters throughout the world. Although sea turtles live most of their lives in the ocean, adult females return to beaches to lay their eggs. They often migrate long distances between feeding grounds and nesting beaches. Seven species have been identified worldwide, including green turtles (Chelonia mydas) the largest of all the hard-shelled sea turtles.
Threats to sea turtles worldwide include rising seas, entanglement in fishing gear, marine debris ingestion, direct takes, harassment from tourists, environmental contamination and loss or degradation of nesting habitat.
The community at Ulithi Atoll, Yap would like to establish a field camp at Gielop Island, the largest green turtle nesting site in Micronesia. The camp will serve as a base for long-term sea turtle monitoring, for clean up of marine debris to better maintain nesting beaches and as a campsite for local and international youth to learn about sea turtles and island ecology and the marine environment. .
The Ulithi Youth Action Project, developed in 2014, is a partnership between Bluecology and One People One Reef, directed by Nicole Crane and John Rulmal Jr. This authentic science- based program pairs groups of young people from the U.S. and Micronesia in hands-on research and cultural immersion designed to address conservation challenges and propose potential solutions.The first youth team arrived at Ulithi Atoll in 2015 when the youth group traveled to uninhabited Gielop Island to learn about sea turtles and assist with monitoring efforts. The program has since expanded bringing college students, educators and scientists to Ulithi annually.
The Hawaiian green sea turtle known as “honu” in Hawai’i is listed as a threatened species. Green turtles bask and nest on Maui’s beaches, and forage in nearshore waters. Hawksbill turtles are listed as endangered in Hawai’i and there are fewer than 100 adult female hawksbills are known to nest in all of Hawai‘i. Both species are impacted heavily by development, and often incidentally or directly through negative interactions with tourists.
Local partner Hawai’i Wildlife Fund would like to increase their monitoring and education capacity to help protect Maui’s turtles. Through dune restoration, beach cleanups, nest protection, basking beach protection, tourist education, and other conservation efforts, the hawksbill turtle may be aided in the direction of recovery, and green turtles may continue to thrive.
How You Can Help
Please make by making a donation to the sea turtle program either in Micronesia or Maui.
You can help by: