Gorgona National Park, Colombia

Tracking hawksbills via satellite technology at a foraging hotspot in southern Colombia.

The World Wildlife Fund launched this program in 2013 to monitor the movements of hawksbill turtles in Gorgona National Park, located 56 km (44 miles) from the Pacific coast of Colombia. The first satellite transmitters were installed by this project in March 2013. The expedition was led by Dr. Diego Amorocho, the Regional Coordinator of WWF’s Species Program in Latin America and the Caribbean, with the assistance of biologists Alexander Tobon and Juan S. Ayala. The tagging expedition was documented by Molly Edmonds (WWF-US). The first turtles tagged with satellite transmitters were two juvenile hawksbill turtles called “Celeste” and “Matthew”. They were captured on the reef of “La Azufrada” and each was equipped with a SPOT5 transmitter and subsequently released in the neighboring reef called “Playa Blanca”. Both coral reefs are within the Gorgona National Park and the separate capture and release sites were used to better understand site fidelity by the species. Between 2008 to 2013 researchers have recorded a total of 17 individual hawksbill turtles at Gorgona, with curved carapace lengths ranging from 37.5 cm to 48.5 cm. To see the movements of these and other satellite tagged turtles, visit: http://worldwildlife.org/stories?species_id=sea


  • Understand hawksbill movement and habitat use
  • Gather demographic data on juvenile hawksbills
  • Increase awareness of the importance of Colombia for hawksbills


  • Satellite tagging of five juvenile hawksbills
  • Generation of unique demographic data for juvenile hawksbills that can aid management strategies
  • Raising awareness of hawksbill turtles throughout Latin America


Conservation strategies used by this project site:

In-water Monitoring

Outreach and Education

Protected Area Management

Implementing Organizations

ICAPO’s Role with Implementing Organization

  • Communication with other organizations (information link)
  • Access funding sources
  • Funding proposals
  • Joint management (planning and implementation, reporting)
  • Technical advising (capacity-building, training, protocol/methodology development)
  • Research and publications collaboration