Every year, 20,000 - 30,000 sea turtles head to coastlines in Panama to lay their eggs. The Azuero peninsula on the Pacific coast of Panama is one of these places. Isla de Canas, an island off southern coast of the peninsula, is one of the most important nesting sites for 4 species of sea turtles: Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys Olivacea) Pacific Green (Chelonia Mydas) Leatherback (Dermochelys Coriacea) Hawsbill (Eretmochelys imbricate)
In the Azuero peninsula, sea turtle nesting most commonly occurs between the months of September and November; however, nesting can happen as early as May and continued well into December. There is no telling when the turtles will show up, but when they do, they attract humans, some are interested in harvesting their eggs for food, while others are there to protect the eggs.
The turtle populations in the Azuero are at risk, as many of the eggs are being poached. In an effort to maintain the Azuero lineage of turtles, each year volunteers work though the nesting period to protect the eggs.
What can you do to help?
Protect the eggs. Head to Isla Canas and lend a helping hand. For more information on tours to Isla Canas contact Assaf Allouche, owner of El Sitio de Playa Venao, by email at
Keep the beaches clean. Protecting the eggs is only half the battle. If the hatchlings make it to the water they will face a whole new set of problems. One problem these hatchlings will experience is the stuggle of navigating through garbage. Take your garbage with you after spending a day at the beach.
Help with beach clean ups. Punta Chame beach is another known area for turtle nesting. Head out and help clean up the beach this month on September 30th. For more information on this event visit www.festivalabierto.com.