New Standards for SWOT Data

As of 2011, the SWOT database has expanded to include more than 5,700 individual data records contributed by more than 550 data providers (and literature sources) from more than 2,800 distinct nesting beaches. As such, it is currently the most comprehensive global sea turtle nesting database in existence, and it is well positioned to serve as the world’s premier data clearinghouse and monitoring system for sea turtles.

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The Case of Shell Beach

Shell Beach is a 120 kilometers (74 miles) stretch of beach and mudflats along the northwestern coast of Guyana in South America. The area is renowned as the annual nesting ground for four marine turtle species: leatherbacks, hawksbills, olive ridleys, and green turtles. The area’s bird diversity is also one of the richest in Guyana. For those reasons, Shell Beach was identified by the government of Guyana—through a consultative process—as a priority site for protected area status.

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Sea Turtles and CITES

In recognition of their global plight, sea turtles were among the first species listed on the CITES Appendices when the treaty came into force, and CITES protection over the past 35 years has been critical to ensuring their survival. Formidable opposition from some CITES Parties to all attempts to weaken sea turtle protection and a unified effort from the conservation community have been key to maintaining the international ban on trade.

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Egg Collection for Conservation

Don Juan has been collecting sea turtle eggs and selling them to earn a little extra money for years now. In spite of all the eggs he’s seen, it’s been years since Don Juan has seen a baby turtle. He can sense that something isn’t right and that—if things continue this way—the turtles will likely disappear completely. But in the impoverished coastal communities of Nicaragua, it is today that matters most.

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