Universidad Central del Ecuador — Ecuador (2010)

Machalilla National Park is the single most important feeding and reproductive area for hawksbill and green (black) turtles in continental Ecuador. Yet despite long-standing protection for both the park and its sea turtles, populations have continued to decline over the past several decades.

In an effort to reverse this troubling trend, a 2010 SWOT grant to Micaela Peña, of the Universidad Central del Ecuador, was used to develop a Sea Turtle Recovery and Conservation Action Plan for Machalilla in collaboration with all of the park’s local stakeholders. Over the course of several workshops, participants discussed and prioritized existing threats, evaluated their underlying causes, and identified measures to mitigate them.

Important next steps for the project include controlling and zoning key sites within the park, developing an education and outreach campaign, and pursuing more active local participation in conservation efforts.