Celebrating Conservation Collaboration!
Conservation and research organisation Indigo Expeditions and National Reptile Zoo partner to develop turtle research in Guatemala.
On a magical trip to Guatemala back in 2013 Rowland Griffin received the inspiration to set up conservation projects in Guatemala, and founded Indigo Expeditions.
Since then, he has set up conservation expeditions and research projects at Las Guacamayas biological research station in Laguna del Tigre National Park.
This year, working in collaboration with Wildlife Conservation Society and National Reptile Zoo, Indigo Expeditions will be starting field work to study and conserve Central American river turtles.
These river turtles (Dermatemys mawii) are only found in Southern Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. They are one of the top 20 most endangered freshwater turtle in the world.
They are found in rivers and freshwater lagoon, and unlike other species of river turtle, they are fully aquatic. They are listed as critically endangered in the IUCN Red List.
Indigo Expeditions have prioritised their conservation efforts on this species and focused research projects at the Las Guacamayas biological research station, and are working in collaboration with James Hennessy at National Reptile Zoo.
Plans developed quickly to develop an additional project, focusing on the conservation of sea turtles, in particular Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea).
Research and monitoring will be carried out on the Pacific Coast of Guatemala, working with the El Banco local community. Declines of sea turtle populations are due to unsustainable egg collection, loss of nesting beaches and contamination to foraging grounds.
In 2008 it was estimated that the population had decreased by around 30% in the previous 20 years.
Indigo Expeditions are celebrating their conservation collaboration with National Reptile Zoo to promote the conservation of turtles. They aim to raise awareness of in-situ reptile and amphibian conservation through the joint “Turtle Campaign” in support of World Turtle Day on 23 May.
“I am really excited about collaborating with National Reptile Zoo. By adapting their exemplary handling and safety protocols to field situations we are able to continue develop Indigo’s commitment to raising standards of field techniques for the safety of both the animals we work with and our surveyors in the field” says Rowland Griffin, Director of Research for Indigo Expeditions.
National Reptile Zoo houses 3 species of non-native turtle and seven different species of tortoise. The zoo is dedicated to helping raise awareness of these species and their endangered status in the wild in order to help preserve them for generations to come.
James says: “This expedition is vital to the survival of the Central American River Turtle and I am delighted to be apart of the mission to help save this species. I have no doubt that the work done by the team will have an important and sustaining effect on this native turtle”
Rowland Griffin (Indigo Expeditions) and James Hennessy (National Reptile Zoo)