Turtle, Mangrove and Crocodile Conservation Project
Where: Hawaii, Guatemala, Central America
When: All year round.
Duration: Min. 1 week.
Focus: Turtle nest monitoring, egg collection and rehabilitation.
Species: Olive Ridley, Green and Leatherback.
Suitability: Over 18s. Groups. Schools.
Language: Although not required, being able to speak Spanish will come in handy, especially if staying for a long time. Language courses and homestay options are available for an extra cost.
Support: ARCAS provides three plans offering different levels of support:
- Mochilero is for experienced travellers who speak some Spanish and prefer to arrive at the project site on their own with no reservation.
- Reserva offers a reservation, and for the Peten project airport pick-up.
- Completo is for less experienced travellers who don´t speak Spanish. For an additional deposit, volunteers are guaranteed a reservation, picked up at the airport and offered additional services depending on the project they are going to.
Cost: 1 week from USD 175 (rates vary according to plans).
As a volunteer, you will:
- Patrol the beach to collect and incubate as many turtle eggs as possible.
- Help excavate nests and release hatchlings back into the ocean.
- Get involved in community education including teaching extra-curricular classes in local schools, developing curriculum, and conducting beach clean ups, turtle releases and environmental fairs.
- Participate in health, gender, eco-tourism and education projects (a good level of Spanish required).
- Take part in scientific monitoring of the local mangrove ecosystem. Mangrove reforestations are carried out in December and January. Other reforestation activities are carried out between May and July.
- Assist in the feeding and care of the crocodiles, iguanas, and parrots that are part of ARCAS’s captive breeding programme, before the animals are released into the nearby mangrove forests.
Turtle Nesting Season
The season runs from July to November. Peak season is August to October. Hatchlings are released from August to late January.
- Olive Ridley: Nest from roughly July to late October, though solitary nesters arrive throughout the year. Nesting frequency can be as high as 30 nests per night during the peak of nesting season in August and September.
- Leatherback: Nest in November and December but are much less common than olive ridleys with only 2-3 nests being recorded per year.
- Pacific Green: Nest between August and October. New to nesting in this area with 2-4 nests being recorded per year.
Accommodation: Volunteer house based in the Hawaii Park. The Parque includes a large central rancho with an office, meeting room, volunteer computer room, kitchen, bathrooms and a laboratory. The crocodile, iguana and parrot captive breeding enclosures as well as other rescue cages are also nearby.
Sleeping: Bunk beds with lockers and electric fans. Mosquito nets and sheets are provided, but not towels.
Food: 3 meals a day, plus bottled drinking water.
The next step: Visit ARCAS for more information and to book.
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