Tortugas Pedasi is a community based non-profit dedicated to the study and conservation of Pedasi’s coastal ecosystems.
Specializing on sea turtles and mangrove forests, we work primarily within the bounds of the Pablo Barrios Wildlife Refuge in Los Santos, Panama.
Four species of sea turtles nest in Pedasi
In 2012, marine biologist Jacinto Rodriguez from Fundacion Agua y Tierra, gave a seminar in Pedasi concerning the biology and conservation status of sea turtles in Panama. Participants learned about the species’ ecological importance, their critical endangerment status, and about basic data collection techniques.
This course lead to the creation of Tortugas Pedasi, a community-based NGO. Initially, our activities were limited to beach patrols within the Pablo Barrios Wildlife Refuge. However, our monitoring revealed an alarming rate of poaching, which drove us to expand our mission to include environmental education in schools.
Our mission has also grown to include research and conservation of mangrove forests, since they are an important nursery for green sea turtles and make up a considerable area of the Pablo Barrios Wildlife Refuge.
Today we are also a part of the Pablo Barrios Wildlife Refuge’s Shared Management Committee; an effort currently in the works between the Panamanian ministry of the environment, Azuero Earth Project, and local community members.
Within the near future, we hope to expand our scientific monitoring operations and to establish our own turtle hatchery with a campsite for volunteers and visiting researchers.
Sea turtle monitoring
During the time of year when the turtles come onto the beach to lay eggs, volunteers walk the beaches to gather biometric data.
Pablo Barrios wildlife refuge
We work primarily within the bounds of the Pablo Barrios Wildlife Refuge, a marine-coastal protected area in Los Santos, Panama. Tortugas Pedasi is an official member of the refuge’s Shared Management Committee.
In 2013 Tortugas Pedasi began organizing clean-ups to reduce litter in nesting beaches and to raise awareness about the consequences of littering for marine life.
Mangrove Research and Conservation
Considering that our primary working area, the Pablo Barrios Refuge, harbors 1579 acres of mangrove forests and that this habitat is a critical for marine life, we have expanded our mission to include mangrove research and conservation.
Tortugas Pedasi has collaborated with a series of local schools and partner NGO’s to educate and motivate the general public to protect sea turtles and their habitat.
During September 2018, Panama’s “Ocean’s Month”, Tortugas Pedasi joined a global shorebird monitoring effort. Ever since, we are committed to contributing bird sighting data to the Pablo Barrio’s databases and to global records.