Mangroves of Tumbes National Sanctuary, Peru

A known foraging ground for post-nesting female hawksbill turtles, the importance of the mangroves of Tumbes for hawksbills is just beginning to reveal itself.

In the large mangrove ecosystem on the border of Peru and Ecuador, the very rare eastern Pacific hawksbill turtle has been recorded migrating from nesting beaches in Ecuador. This species is currently the center of many regional conservation efforts given its critical population status. Part of this mangrove ecosystem is a natural protected area (NPA) of the Tumbes National Mangrove Sanctuary in the department of Tumbes, Peru. Here, ecOceanica, in collaboration with the NPA, is conducting studies on the presence of sea turtles and their threats, while building capacity of ANP personnel. The studies put special emphasis on the hawksbill given their level of threat and previous documentation of the species in the area. In next stages of research will combine visual census mark-recapture studies to raise relevant information on their populations.

Overall objective:

  • To contribute to the conservation of sea turtle populations and their critical habitats in northern Peru.

Specific Objectives:

  • Obtain important biological and ecological parameters of sea turtles.
  • Evaluate populations of sea turtles.
  • Conduct an analysis of threats to turtles and their habitats in and around National Mangrove Sanctuary of Tumbes.
  • Generate and provide technical information to support and strengthen the management of marine turtles and their habitats.


  • Trained NPA rangers and generated more interest in the conservation and study of sea turtles.
  • Created a map of sea turtle observations within the ANP based on visual counts that were made in the main and side channels of the reserve.
  • Determination of the sea turtle species present in mangrove channels and frequencies: So far, turtles observed were mainly green turtles, as well as olive ridleys. Local interviews however, suggest that the hawksbill turtle is observed in the area, although in fewer numbers. This coincides with previous satellite telemetry findings.
  • Analysis of threats to the ANP and its surroundings.
  • Mark-recapture program of sea turtles that will allow us to evaluate the structure and dynamics of populations, as well as migratory movements.


Conservation strategies used by this project site:

In-water Monitoring

Outreach and Education

Exploratory Habitat Investigations

Protected Area Management

Implementing Organizations

ICAPO’s Role with Implementing Organization

  • Communication with other organizations (information link)
  • Joint management (planning and implementation, reporting)
  • ICAPO provided interview forms to evaluate hawksbill presence/absence in the area of Tumbes