Sea Turtle Conservancy


Sea Turtle Conservancy is the oldest sea turtle research and conservation organization in the world. Founded in 1959 by Dr. Archie Carr, STC’s work helped spawn the global movement to protect sea turtles and developed successful strategies that are now in use around the world. STC’s mission is to protect sea turtles using research, habitat protection, public education, community outreach, networking and advocacy. STC’s work focuses along the Caribbean coast of Central America, with long-term programs in Tortuguero (Costa Rica) as well as Bocas del Toro and Comarca Ngâbe-Bugle (Panama). The success of STC’s programs is made possible through close collaboration with local communities.

R  E  S  E  A  R  C  H

Tag females who come to nest on the beach, to learn more about their reproductive biology. Monitor nests to identify the major threats to their survival and evaluate hatching success. Determine migration routes and foraging grounds using satellite telemetry

E  D  U  C  A  T  I  O  N  &  O  U  T  R  E  A  C  H

Develop environmental education programs to raise awareness in local communities not only about marine turtles but also about taking care of, respecting and coexisting with the natural environment in general.



Four species of sea turtles are found in the waters of Bocas del Toro: leatherback, (Dermochelys coriacea), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), green (Chelonia mydas) and loggerhead (Caretta caretta). The first three species nest on the region’s beaches; while loggerhead, green and hawksbill turtles are found at different stages of their life cycle, feeding in areas close to the coast.

However, sea turtles are subject to many threats caused by humans, such as fishing, marine and beach pollution, slaughter for meat, eggs or shell, or coastal development and the presence of artificial lights that affect their habitat, among others     



Sea turtles are large reptiles that inhabit tropical and subtropical seas around the world. They breathe through their lungs, migrate thanks to strong flippers and have a shell that protects them. There are seven species of sea turtles worldwide, five of which are in Central America, and all of them are endangered. Of the seven species, six have hard shells; only the leatherback turtle has a soft leathery one.


Sea turtles are important connections between marine and terrestrial habitats as they transport nutrients to the sandy beaches. They maintain highly productive marine ecosystems such as seagrass beds and coral reefs, storing energy from their food and depositing it on the nesting beaches in the form of eggs. These eggs, together with hatchlings, serve as nutrients for beach vegetation and as food for wildlife. Without turtles the connection and transfer of energy between these two habitats would be lost.


In 2003, the STC, together with Wildlife Conservation Society and other partners initiated a project with the intention of restoring the significant population of hawksbill turtles at Chiriquí Beach and Bastimentos Island National Marine Park. Since then, the project has expanded to include various nesting beaches and other threatened sea turtle species, such as the leatherback and the green turtle

H E L P  U S  T O    P R O T E C T  T H E M

next Selina Hostel, Isla Colón, Bocas del Toro

(00507) 7579186


















Though sea turtles spend all their lives in the ocean, when the females reach sexual maturity, they come to the beach to lay their eggs where, after approximately two months incubating, the vulnerable hatchlings will emerge to face numerous threats without any parental care.


There are numerous projects at turtle nesting beaches collecting data that allow us to know more about their growth rates, migration routes and breeding cycles, among other topics. However, because they spend most of their life at sea, there is still much to learn about these magnificent reptiles.


Seven species of sea turtles. Narwhal Creative

STC’s project study sites in Bocas del Toro and Comarca, Panama

Today STC, with the support of communities and participation of local conservation groups, is monitoring and helping to protect seven beaches in the Bocas del Toro archipelago and the Ngäbe Bugle Comarca, as well as several others in Colon Province. The project also develops an environmental education and outreach program directed at local schools and communities.












However, sea turtles are subject to many threats caused by humans, such as fishing, marine and beach pollution, slaughter for meat, eggs or shell, or coastal development and the presence of artificial lights that affect their habitat, among others.




In the same nest you can find hatchlings from different fathers?








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