Paso Pacifico

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Turtle Rangers

Since 2008, Paso Pacifico has employed community-based sea turtle rangers to monitor and protect nesting sea turtles and act as ambassadors for the environment within their communities. 

Sea turtles throughout the world's oceans are endangered and species such as the leatherback and hawksbill turtles of the eastern Pacific are nearing extinction. Both critically endangered leatherbacks and hawksbills, as well as olive Ridley and Pacific green sea turtles nest along the Pacific beaches of southern Nicaragua, where our turtle rangers are stationed.

Due to the pervasiveness of rural poverty and the traditional culture of sea turtle eggs as food, sea turtle nests left unprotected on the beaches of Nicaragua, will almost certainly be poached.

La Flor Wildlife Refuge is a protected area located in southwestern Nicaragua, estabiished to safeguard one of the region's most important arribada (mass nesting) beaches for the olive Ridley sea turtle. Along the more isolated of these beaches, where the Nicaraguan Mininstry of the environment could not deploy their own rangers, we employ full-time rangers who work at a competitive wage and with benefits. For many of thse rangers, this is their first formal employment, and several of them were formerly turtle poachers.

Trained by retired US National Park Service Ranger and Paso Pacifico Board Member Emeritus Rick Smith, our turtle rangers form "the thin green line" to protect thousands of endangered animals and places. Working round the clock, turtle rangers patrol the beaches, monitoring nesting turtles, tagging turtle nests, protecting hatchlings from predators, and using non-confrontational approaches to ask that egg poachers cease poaching on their beaches.

We are extremely proud of our turtle rangers, who have now protected hundreds of nests and thousands of baby turtles, and helped us cultivate a culture of conservation within Nicaragua's coastal communities.

Program Partners

Additional Resources

Read about Rick Smith, the man who started our ranger programs, on his bio page.

Read our backstory about the night (on a turtle nesting beach) Paso Pacifico founder, Sarah Otterstrom, realized the importance of combining environmental conservation with economic development.

Check out this educational slideshow about our turtle rangers.

Visit the Sea Turtle Spotlight on our Flickr page.

To learn more about our turtle conservation strategies, read "Engaging Local Communities in Sea Turtle Conservation: Strategies from Nicaragua" written by Paso Pacifico founder and director, Sarah Otterstrom, and Board Member Emeritus, Rick Smith. (Originally published in  The George Wright Forum.)

Our Coastal-Marine Research Project is designed to learn more about sea turtle populations and marine ecology.

Learn more about our efforts to save wildlife (on land and at sea) in the Paso del Istmo biological corridor.

Contact Us

PO Box 1244 • Ventura, CA 93002-1244
Phone: 1-805-643-7044

Carretera a Masaya Km 12.4
Residencial Villas del Prado, Casa No. 7
Managua, Nicaragua
Phone: +505-2279-8423
Phone: +505-2279-7072

© 2006 Paso Pacífico