More than 25 partners from Chile to the U.S. gathered together recently in Lima, Perú, to relaunch an integrated regional effort focused on conservation of critically endangered Eastern Pacific leatherback turtles. This effort continues in support of the EP Leatherback Action Plan released in 2013.
The workshop, hosted by Fauna and Flora International, took place on the sidelines of the 36th International Sea Turtle Symposium, and included participants representing governmental and non-governmental sectors from Chile, Perú, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, México, and the U.S.
During the workshop, participants worked on establishing a standardized regional platform for sharing data on nesting abundance, hatchling production, bycatch, strandings, and tags used for identification of individual turtles. Participants also discussed ways to continue integrating their activities by strengthening the regional network, which was given the name “Red de Laud del Océano Pacifico Oriental (LaúdOPO),” or the Eastern Pacific Leatherback Network.
Since the workshop, LaúdOPO has worked collectively on several fronts, including the workshop report, recommendations for data types to be collected regionally, terms of reference for membership, data sharing, and data use, development of the website, and securing funding to support the next phase of bycatch assessment and analysis work. At the same time, LaúdOPO continues to focus efforts on site- and national-scale conservation actions, such as nest protection, increased hatchling production, and bycatch reduction.
As the network gains momentum, there is renewed hope that the decline of EP leatherbacks will be reversed in the years to come. Check back for updates on this work from network partners.
Read a more detailed synopsis of the gathering here.