San Cristobal Island, Galapagos Archipelago, Ecuador

Recent research has revealed that substantial numbers of hawksbills inhabit the waters of San Cristobal and other islands of the Galapagos archipelago.

Sea turtle research on San Cristobal Island began in 2009, with preliminary investigations into the feeding and resting areas, which led to important advances in the understanding of local turtle populations (See: Muñoz et al 2010, Muñoz et al. 2012; Denkinger et al 2013). In recent years the Project has focused on habitat use studies, human resource use and the impacts of marine pollution. These efforts continuously use sea turtles as flagship species for research, conservation and awareness. Our budget has always been limited, however, has made ​​significant progress in the understanding of sea turtle populations in the area.

San Cristobal and other nearby Islands were only recently identified as significant áreas for foraging hawksbills. In this context, it is crucial to continue collecting information on interaction with human activities, which can be used for local and global management strategies and ensure timely protection measures.

Objectives

  • Understand the population dynamics and ecology of sea turtles in the marine habitats of Galapagos. Determine habitat use and life-span.
  • Provide meaningful information to address current and future conservation issues.
  • Determine the negative impacts to local populations of sea turtles.
  • Apply sea turtles as an “umbrella” species to tackle emerging problems, such as plastic and marine pollution and unsustainable economic interests.
  • Provide conservation strategies in addition to regulations based on the results achieved. Expand the program to the rest of the Galapagos Archipelago.

Impact

  • First directed research at hawksbills in the Galapagos Islands
  • Identification of important hawksbill foraging areas across the Galapagos Archipelago
  • Long-term research into foraging ground residency

Programs

Conservation strategies used by this project site:

In-water Monitoring

Outreach and Education

Protected Area Management

Exploratory Habitat Investigations

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
  • Development of a volunteer program
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