Sea Turtle Conservation in Manzanillo, Mexico

Have you always dreamt of saving an endangered species and had the opportunity to do so? Volunteer at this Sea Turtle Project in Mexico, and make your dream come true by working in a long-standing project that has been conserving sea turtles for over 2 decades.

Located on the Pacific Coast of Mexico on the beaches of Colima region, the project began approximately 24 years ago. It was started by local fishermen after they had personally witnessed dramatic decline in the number of nesting turtles on their beach over the years. The fishermen tell of the days when mass nesting sessions took place, with thousands of Olive Ridley turtles laying eggs on the beach in one night. There were almost as many people there to collect the eggs and sell them to market!

Today, all species of sea turtle are endangered and protected by law. However, thousands of turtles are still slaughtered every year for their meat and eggs, often being cut open for the eggs and tossed back into the ocean. Thousands more die each year in illegal trawl nets, and while building of homes and tourist resorts on nesting beaches. The fishermen and visiting volunteers save approximately 4,000 nests each year. This effort needs to be ongoing to maintain and hopefully increase population numbers in the future.

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What to Expect?

This project is ideal for travellers studying or interested in biological sciences and/or community development, as well as anyone with a general interest in nature and the environment. No previous training is needed, as on-site training will be given upon arrival to the camp. Basic Spanish skills may be helpful for communication with the locals, but not necessary in order to take part in the project.

For the volunteers involved, this project offers hands-on experience in the sea turtle conservation camp in Mexico. Night-time work involves taking turns patrolling the nesting beach, monitoring nesting activity in the incubation corral and releasing the hatchlings to the ocean. All nests found along the 10km stretch of beach are collected and relocated to the incubation corral, where hatchlings are collected and counted as they come to the surface of the sand. An important part of this process is data collection, allowing numbers of nesting turtles and hatchlings to be monitored over the years.

Day-time work at the camp includes cleaning out nests that have already hatched, saving any hatchlings that may be trapped at the bottom and preventing contamination of the area. Volunteers may also be involved in environmental education programs, and other wildlife monitoring in the area, such as compiling a species list for the area and monitoring the local crocodile population.

Volunteers on the sea turtle conservation program will be camping. Tents and camping mattresses are provided to make for a comfortable stay. The camp is located on a spit of beach between a lagoon and open ocean, a truly breathtaking environment.

Three meals per day will be provided; breakfast and a light evening meal are prepared in camp by the volunteers/staff and a large meal is provided every day at lunch time, prepared by cooks from the local community.

  • Program ID: # 2448
  • duration:
    1 to 2 Weeks
    2 Weeks to 1 Month
    1 to 3 Months
  • location:
    Campamento Majahaus Manzanillo
    Mexico
    19° 0' 46.0332" N, 104° 17' 5.9028" W
    MX
  • Fitness level:
    Moderately Fit
    Very Fit
  • Closest Airport:
    Playa de Oro International (ZLO)
  • Costs From:
    $500 to $1000
    $1000 to $1500
    $1500 to $3000
  • Program Type:
    Environmental & Wildlife Programs
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