Bay of Bengal Sea Turtle Program

A self-funded model for in-situ conservation of sea turtle

Securing in-situ nesting and safe migratory routes for sea turtles in the Bay of Bengal countries

BoB Turtle is a partnership-based initiative initiated in October 2014; it is designed and facilitated by Save Our Sea to secure safe migratory routes and nesting sites for sea turtles in the Bay of Bengal countries by promoting TEDs and in situ nest protection. Local communities, fishing cooperatives, tourism businesses are collaborating with conservationists in this voluntary program.

The Challenge

The Solution

To address these challenges Save Our Sea is facilitating multi-disciplinary teams of young professionals, local and urban youth groups to initiate locally led and community funded in-situ nest protection in the Saint Martin’s Island in 2015-16 nesting season. It is part of a broader Participatory Action Research initiative to establish a locally managed marine area to protect the coral ecosystem, and special emphasis on species-level conservation of Eretmochelys imbricataLepidochelys olivacea and Chelonia mydas. Upon consensus, the local youth group declared a 1.3 kilometers stretch of beach as ‘protected’ and they made sure that it remains disturbance-free from tourist activities during nighttime and no nest is relocated. They are hosting the self-funded volunteer Field Assistants from universities who assist them in nest monitoring and data collection. Conservationists, fishers, and local businesses are contributing the rest of the fund.

As the last season of this pilot initiative ends in April 2017, it has seen 92.65% hatching rate from in-situ nests; efforts for scaling up the initiative is underway in Cox’s Bazar Beach and Teknaf Peninsula in Bangladesh.

Also, using remote sensing data and transects the team surveyed 84 kilometers of coastline to assess the impact of and recommend the mitigation process against possible habitat loss by an under-construction coastal highway along the country’s main nesting beach.

After a long process of learning sharing with one of the leading indigenous Civil Society Organizations on the Bay of Bengal coast in India- ARASMIN has started the stakeholder outreach process for adopting the model in Orissa.

This model of community-led sea turtle conservation is very flexible to localization in terms of types of stakeholder and mode of finance. In Saint Martin’s Island, it has been working as a joint program of a youth-based environmental organization, a university, and local community-based organization. On the other hand, during the current scaling up process on the Cox’s Bazar beach, though the local community remains the main catalyst, it turns out that, the tourism and hospitality industry is the main financier.

If your organization is interested to get help with the facilitation process to initiate conservation efforts based on our self-funded model, please reach out to us via email. We will help you with setting up projects by preparing the local community, setting up volunteer teams and engaging the stakeholders related to your community.

Volunteer For Sea Turtle

Team Turtle

The wordpress blog is a nesting site for all the volunteers, mentors, patrons and other Ocean defenders involved with the Team Turtle. On this blog, we share our experience and learning from the Volunteer for Sea Turtle activities.