Σώζοντας θαλάσσιες χελώνες στο Σαλβαδόρ
Episode #2 for the Navarino Global Environmental Action Plan we partner in central America. This time we support El Salvador’s AMBAS association at sleepy Barra de Santiago to keep protecting endangered species of sea turtles.
While looking for an environmental project to volunteer in El Salvador, we were lucky to meet with AMBAS founders, a Women’s Community Association at Barra de Santiago, on the Pacific coast. We listened to them, got to know about their project and in the end we stayed for almost 10 days in the village to participate in the association’s efforts.
Navarino generously donated AMBAS with needed equipment materials, like a solar panel battery, wood boards for the protection of the nursery and inflatable swimming pools for keeping safe the new-born turtles before their liberation. During our stay, as a family we participated in at least three liberations of tiny turtles, despite March is low season for egg laying.
AMBAS empowers local community to participate in sea turtle conservation and mangrove protection, while it attracts donations from all over the world for buying eggs collected by about 200 local “tortugueros”. The price is 2,5 USD for 14 eggs and is paid cash. Thanks to donations from all over the world, the Association released more than 90,000 new-born turtles to the sea in 2022.
In the past, local fishermen used to exploit turtle eggs for consumption, as they were traditionally part of the local diet, but since the trade was abolished, black market emerged. Thanks to the AMBAS nursery on the beach of Barra de Santiago and transparent donations via Global Giving platform, the endangered Lepidochelys olivacea, Chelonia mydas) and Dermochelys coriacea) sea turtles are protected, while the community of local fishermen is supported to thrive financially. AMBAS biologists work hard to educate in daily basis the local population, as well as school and university students and visitors in El Salvador.
For us, working with AMBAS was an eye opening experience and especially for our daughter Anastasia an environmental volunteering she wull remember for years. As for Barra de Santiago, we feel we have at least a real friend there – biologist Eder Caseros who is the heart and soul of the Association – and we invite you all to visit one day El Salvador and the community of Barra de Santiago!