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Save the turtle on your gap year

Written by Emily Acheson-Gray on 21 / 06 / 2019

Gap Year Advice

The Facts

Despite having been around for over 110 million years, far longer than humans, the sea turtle is rapidly heading towards extinction. Having hatched, it is estimated that only 1 in 1,000 turtles actually survive to reach adult maturity and this is why your help is needed. As if the natural factors faced by the remaining 7 species of turtle weren’t enough, over 4,600 are killed by US fisheries alone each year resulting in currently under 1 million turtles remaining in the whole world…this needs to change.

What you can do

Want to do something fun and different in your gap year whilst saving one of the world’s most endangered species at the same time? The World Conservation Union has identified 5 major hazards for the endangered turtle and this is how, here at The Leap, we aim our programs towards minimising these threats but we need your help…

1. Pollution

The main threat that we are seeing at the moment is the influx of pollution into our oceans, with 1,000 turtles killed each year by plastic alone, so, in keeping with our fight against plastic, both our Madagascar and Costa Rica programs need Leapers to help with activities such as beach clean ups. Other than simply reducing the waste that enters the oceans, the removal of debris from the beaches creates a clear path for the turtle hatchlings to reach the water, therefore increasing their chances of survival.

2. The dangers of coastal development

The building of new coastal features around the world involves human interference in both the seafloor and the turtle nesting beaches. Our Leapers heading out to Costa Rica will help the local NGO Cirenas, focussing on identifying nests, creating hatcheries and vitally escorting the hatchlings to the water, if necessary. Alternatively, if you’re interested in learning about stunning marine life, our Madagascar program is centred around monitoring the diverse and wonderful reefs, as well as identifying different species of the threatened turtles, such as the Hawksbill and Green turtles.

Join us in Madagascar and take a leap towards saving the turtle!

3. Climate change

Costa Rica needs you…what are you waiting for? The ever-increasing threat of climate change is causing extreme weather events which are destroying turtle nesting beaches around the world. Your help in Costa Rica constructing hatcheries to protect these turtle eggs is now, more than ever, invaluable. Whilst we aim to do everything we can to save the turtles, it’s crucial to remember that we cannot control the ecosystem; therefore, for every nest that we move into our care, we leave one exposed to environmental factors, in order to sustain a natural balance.

Take me to Costa Rica!

4. Poaching

This wonderful creature is sadly under serious threat from poachers wanting their eggs and meat, and with certain beaches known for being particularly thriving breeding grounds, they become easy targets for poachers. In Costa Rica, Cirenas, along with the local communities, need the help of Leapers to specifically protect the eggs of the Olive Ridley, Hawksbill, Leatherback and Black Turtle species, whilst the Lokobe Nature Reserve, which we work with in Madagascar, needs your support to monitor the levels of poaching in the surrounding reef. It is time for us to put an end to this illegal poaching and do our bit to save the turtles.

5. Tangled in nets

Help stop the huge number of turtles accidentally killed each year. Masses of turtles get caught in fisheries and then are simply discarded. By helping at the base level of turtle life, both in Costa Rica and Madagascar, you are improving their chances in life as a whole.

Explore the breath-taking countries of tropical Costa Rica and wild Madagascar, getting stuck into activities, such as learning a new language, whilst saving one of the world’s most endangered species at the same time…what’s stopping you?

The turtles need your help

Find out more here

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