The Civil Association and World Conservation Ecology AC (ECOPLAN) is a private non-profit organization that began its work to protect sea turtles and provide environmental education at the beginning of 2014. It consists of a group of young people working together seeking to consolidate in their care and environmental protection.
What is the purpose of ECOPLAN AC?
Working with professionals, students, and people from civil society to foster care and rational sustainable use of our natural resources, focusing mainly on research and conservation of sea turtles, as well as environmental education, performing work for the protection of nests and nesting females, their young and the collecting of controlled decision-morphometric data.
We work with three species: Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) mainly, plus the Leatherback Seaturtle (Dermochelys coriacea) and Black Seaturtle (Chelonia agassizii) , which occur sporadically at the same time. [ Read more about about our Seaturtles! ]
Why is it Important?
The oceans are home to a large percentage of the Earth’s biodiversity, occupying 70% of its surface. There is growing concern that a wide variety of marine species suffer an increasing risk of extinction and that marine biodiversity is experiencing a loss that could be irreversible due to a series of threats: overfishing, accidental capture, climate change, invasive species and coastal development. Among the main purposes of ECOPLAN is to help preserve the ecosystems, as a priority, for species such as sea turtles.
Where are we working?
Our activities are mainly in Los Cabos, BCS ; the turtle camp is on the beach at Margaritas-Pozo de Cota.
How will we achieve our goals?
ECOPLAN AC has a constantly trained and always focused multi-disciplinary group for the care and preservation of the environment. We currently have a sea turtle protection permit, granted by the management of wildlife in SEMARNAT (Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources, Mexico) which allows us to work with these marine species.
We also have links with research & education institutions, researchers and turtle specialists.
What is the desired final result?
To achieve the goals of preserving as many turtle lives as possible, and over time, delivering reliable results and scientific research, together with various support groups and people to further successful practices. To educate visitors and local residents about the importance of turtle preservation and sound ecological practices.
Why was ECOPLAN AC founded?
Because of the deficiencies that exist in the different turtle preservation groups in the LosCabos area, it was apparent that the turtle population was at risk, and the some of the local residents enlisted the support of the EcoPlan individual team to rescue, monitor, study, and release the turtles, while providing educational opportunities to visitors to the center.
How long has ECOPLAN AC worked on these projects?
Since the beginning of the “Turtle Nesting Season”, the spring and summer of 2014.
Who Supports ECOPLAN AC’s efforts?
Although some turtle protection groups can receive funding from the government, the group assigned to this area was not fulfilling its obligations. Therefore, concerned local residents enlisted EcoPlan to take on the required work. It has been primarily self-funded, and relied on the support and donations of concerned persons.
What is the plan of action?
ECOPLAN AC is a young association and to progress, our team of biologists has developed a management plan, adapting to the characteristics of the beach and anthropogenic activities taking place in the site. Fundraising will be necessary to finance operations designed to protect, study, and record the turtle population, and provide education to area citizens and visitors, aimed at creating awareness of the importance of the operation.
What have we achieved successfully ? (Patrols, permits, corral, documentation).
After a year and a half of hard work, we obtained our first non-extractive use permit for sea turtles, the same that was given by the management of wildlife in SEMARNAT. This allowed us to build an incubation corral that protects the eggs from poachers, traffic, and predators, and monitors their release. A huge database has been compiled that details population and mortality rates. We also were able to obtain co-operation from tour groups and fishermen whose activities put the nests at risk.
How do you see the future?
ECOPLAN AC’s goal is to establish partnerships for the care and preservation of marine turtles species with work focused on Cabo San Lucas beaches, working with environmental education in communities, schools, and from tourists who visit the operation.
How can people help?
ECOPLAN AC is a non-profit association. However, for the development of our multiple activities, sufficient funds are needed for different things such as transportation equipment (cuatrimotos), work materials, GPS, thermometers, gas, solar panels, lodging and funding for the biologists, and food for the camps.
For those who are eager to participate with us, we will be very grateful, because donation of your money or time to participate greatly amplifies this project.
Also, people can help with simple things like not throwing garbage in public places, respect living organisms as well as the environment where they live, transmit this idea and way of living, to the younger members of family (children, grandchildren, nephews etc.), realizing that they are our present and future.
Participate, be part of everything that leads to environmental protection, approaching us as volunteers on our different activities.
What is expected in the near future?
Providing that the operation can achieve sufficient funding, that the biologist team will be able to follow the beach routes specified in the management plan, to perform the collection of as many nests as possible, putting them out of risk in the incubation yard, protecting them from natural predation and man’s hand. Subsequently, conducting environmental workshops to educate the general public on how to further our work.