Help the Amazonian turtle guards! (This fundraiser has closed)

Versión en español

We urgently need your help to ensure that our Amazonian turtles can enjoy a safe hatching season this year. The turtles concerned are the Giant South American or Arrau Turtle (Podocnemis expansa) which is in critical danger of extinction, the Six-Tuberculed Amazon River Turtle (Podocnemis sextuberculata) which is vulnerable to extinction, and the Yellow Spotted Amazon River Turtle (Podocnemis unifilis) which is endangered. These turtle populations are on verge of collapse due to uncontrolled harvesting of eggs and killing of females. Read more about our turtle project here.

Suddenly without funds

We are desperate for funding because our planned source of funding has suddenly been struck by disaster. The regional environmental agency, Corpoamazonia, had committed to providing us with funds, but their main office and functionaries were severely affected by the recent terrible mudslide in Mocoa. Understandably all their funds are now going into recovering from this disaster.

Unfortunately, this leaves us without funding at a critical time: just before the turtle breeding season is starting! We urgently need funds to organize turtle guards to protect turtle females and the eggs they lay at night on sand banks in the Amazon river, and to protect the nests until a new generation of little turtle hatchlings makes it safely to the water this December.

Turtle nesting events could crash

Sadly, this urgent need for protection was revealed in 2013, when we also found ourselves without funding. The lack of protection was a total disaster for the turtles and turtle nesting events crashed by up to 50%! Since then, our efforts have allowed the nesting events to increase again, but it is clear that only by hiring turtle guards can prevent a population collapse.

Where does your money go?

By hiring turtle guards we provide employment for local conservation groups in the indigenous communities of the Amazon River in Colombia (Nuevo Jardín, El Progreso and Santa Sofía) and Peru (Yahuma and Barranco) that we have been working with since 2008. One of key aspect of the program has been that, for the first three years of participation, the groups receive collective incentives, while they get training and prove their commitment to conservation. Afterwards, when they gain more responsibility by training and coordinating new members and groups, they start receiving a personal income, and enjoy an economic alternative based on conservation.

Ideally, we need $20.000 to carry out the entire program this season (see full budget here), from supporting protection and monitoring of the four main nesting beaches (15 guards for 78 nights) to hatching overseeing (3 guards for 60 nights) and raising awareness in neighboring communities. However, a minimum of $5000 that will cover this emergency for transportation and materials (flashlights, batteries, ponchos, distinctive t-shirts,  etc.) to start protecting the beaches while we raise the remaining funds.

The $5000 goes to:

  • People
    • Pay for local field coordinator team @ $90 for 2.5 months= $225
  • Transport
    • Engine and boat rental: 4 engines for 78 days @ $4.5/day = $1404
    • Boat fuel (monitoring): 5 gallons/day for 78 days @ $4.3/gal = $1677
    • Boat fuel (training and socialization): 3 gallons @ $4.3/gal  = $13
    • Airfair Bogota-Leticia for coordinator = $233
    • Transport of materials = $68
  • Materials and communication
    • 12 Flash lights @ $16,4 each = $197
    • 20 packs of rechargeable batteries @ $11.4 / pack = $228
    • 80 distinctive t-shirts @ $3,5 each = $280
    • 2 impermeable digital cameras @ $93 each = $186
    • Diverse monitoring materials (e.g. cell phones, boxes, labels) = $273
    • Communications @ $7 / month for 2.5 months = $18
  • Overhead
    • Campaign and banking costs @ 4% = $200

How to help

We hope you can spare a few minutes and a few units of your own local currency for these amazing creatures that need your help! We have some great perks that come with donations:

  1. Eggling (USD$5): Public thank you!
  2. Hatchling (USD$10): Eggling + personalized Turtle campaign wallpaper
  3. Flipper (USD$20): Hatchling + sounds of the Amazon River
  4. Six-tuberculed turtle (USD$50): Flipper +  personalized thank you picture with a hatchling you helped saving
  5. Yellow-spotted turtle (USD$100):  Six-tuberculed +  digital turtle ecological calendar
  6. Giant turtle (USD$500+): Yellow-spotted + become a project patron on the project page, publications and communication material.

You can donate on our Generosity campaign page or you can find details about making transfers to our Colombian bank accounts here. Please also spread the word about our campaign!

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