LOCATION: Rio Escalante Chacocente National Wildlife REfuge, Nicaragua
TARGET SPECIES: Oilve Ridley Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), Leatherback turtle (dermochelys coriacea)
In 1998, Community Conservation was approached by the Richland Center, Wisconsin-Santa Teresa, Nicaragua Sister City Project about the possibility of a project in Nicaragua. Community Conservation’s Director accompanied the Wisconsin delegation to Nicaragua to investigate protection of the Rio Escalante Chacocente National Wildlife Refuge. Chacocente is a 4,800 acre area within Santa Teresa’s jurisdiction and is one of the most important nesting beaches for the olive ridley turtles as well as one of the more important dry tropical forests in Central America.
Community Conservation worked with Santa Teresa and the Sister City project to advise on the protection of the turtle beach. The beach has the largest population of nesting Olive Ridley turtles in Nicaragua and a small population of nesting Leatherback turtles. With the support of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the project produced a bilingual coloring book. Currently, the Sister City Project is helping to provide economic assistance to the four villages within Chacocente and has provided a boat and motor that is used for patrolling the waters near the beach for fishing
boats that kill sea turtles.