How WWF protects sea turtle species across the Pacific

Four sea turtles swim around a coral reef in the Galapagos

Across the vast Pacific Ocean, sea turtles travel huge distances to find food, shelter, and suitable nesting beaches. To help protect these endangered sea turtles—and all that depends on their support—WWF works with people in Indonesia, Ecuador, and Fiji. 

Take a look at what WWF is doing to help: 

WWF's Daro Tadu takes the ID of a female leatherback turtle safely affixed with a satellite tag with an electronic reader. 

Leatherback Turtle | Indonesia

Leatherback sea turtles migrate between the west coast of the US and Indonesia in search of food and nesting beaches. However, over the last 30 to 50 years, high levels of egg poaching and hunting of adult turtles beyond customary levels across Indonesia's Kei and Buru islands had a dramatic impact; 75% of eggs were being harvested annually and the greater population declined by 78%. To address this, WWF works with local Indonesian communities on a monitoring program to discourage egg harvesting and turtle capture and on education programs through local church and youth group leaders to spread information about the need to protect turtles and their ecosystems. As a result, egg poaching has fallen to less than 1% and the direct take of adults has declined by 84% since 2017.

Green Turtle | Indonesia, Ecuador

Accidental capture by fishing net is a major problem for green sea turtles, which can't see nets floating in the water and can quickly become entangled. WWF and partners are tackling green sea turtle entanglement by adding lights to gillnets. Trials of net illumination in Kalimantan, Indonesia, led to a 70% decrease in sea turtle capture! Now, WWF is looking to replace AA battery-powered lights with solar-powered lights and continue trials in Ecuador to save green sea turtles across the Pacific.

Hawksbill Turtle | Fiji

Seventy-five percent of Fijians live along the coast, and marine wildlife, including critically endangered hawksbill sea turtles, are closely tied to Fijian culture and traditions and vital to the health of Fiji's Great Sea Reef. In Fiji, WWF is working to protect these turtles through two methods: sponsoring a network of community monitors, or daunivonu, to raise awareness and protect nests and turtles from capture; and educating all 600 fishers working in the tuna industry to reduce the accidental capture of hawksbill turtles.