Monday, 30 April 2012

April showers

A big hello from all of us here at Akazul. We are back on top of blog posts and hope to be bringing more regular news throughout the coming season.

Results from 2011

Firstly, we are pleased to share some of our results from the 2011 nesting season. A total of 1119 nests were laid on the 7.5km beach which Akazul monitor and we managed to tag 192 of these nesting turtles (191 x olive ridley and 1 x green turtle). A total of 17,608 eggs were buried in the hatchery; 5376 of which were donations, 6115 were collected directly off egg harvesters on the beach during patrols, 1764 were bought through the sponsor a nest program and finally 4353 were found by Akazul staff and volunteers. Once again we extend our gratitude to all of the people who have been involved in supporting the project throughout last year, from the volunteers (both local and international) to donators to the sponsor a nest program. There are too many generous people for us to thank individually, but we could not have done it without you!

Local sea turtle steward group training to tag

Ever - Akazul's first local volunteer

Ever has been a truly dedicated and inspirational local volunteer who has been an amazing contribution to the Akazul team over the last 12 months. He was the first local sea turtle steward to go out on the beach and collect donations from egg harvesters and his leading example encouraged other community members to become involved with the project. Ever has been given the opportunity to gain sea turtle experience outside of Guatemala and will soon be travelling to Panama to carry out a 6 week placement with the Endangered Wildlife Trust. This will further develop Ever’s skills and knowledge on sea turtle conservation and broaden his horizons to the practices of other projects. We wish him the best of luck with his travels and look forward to working with him again in La Barrona.

2012 Volunteer Co-ordinator

We are pleased to welcome a new edition to this year's Akazul team.Tom RIggall will be working with us this year as the Volunteer Co-ordinator in La Barrona. Tom, first began working with sea turtles in Greece back in 1999 and has led ARCHELON’s project in Kyparissia (second most important breeding area for loggerhead sea turtles in the Mediterranean) for several years, as well as assisted with an in-water capture study in Amvrakikos Bay. Tom will bring a wealth of experience to the team and Akazul is very much looking forward to working with him this season.


As most of you will be aware Akazul practically runs on a shoe string. All of the dedicated staff and volunteers work for free and it is amazing what has been achieved in such a short space of time with such limited funds. As ever, we could use everyone’s help...we have put together a list of projects and their associated costs and equipment needed and invite any interested parties to get in touch if they would like to be involved in either fundraising or supporting specific projects due to start in the 2012 season. For more information contact  

Kids Environmental Education Class - 
one of the initiatives that Akazul need help finding funding for

That's the latest news from Akazul, please visit again soon!


Akazul xx

Thursday, 12 April 2012

April news

Happy April to all you Akazulers out there!

We are now in the down time after the 2011 season, not much turtle action at the moment but we are still just as busy making preparations for the upcoming turtle season and disseminating the last. There certainly is no rest for the wicked. Since the last post in February there is plenty of interesting and exciting news to report from the Akazul camp so keep reading for the latest...

32nd International Sea Turtle Symposium 2012, Huatulco, Mexico

This year, Sarah, Scott and Ever represented Akazul at the annual sea turtle symposium- always a great occasion and an opportunity to get up to speed with what’s what and who’s who on the international sea turtle conservation and research scene. Most importantly, it gives grass-roots projects, like ours, the chance to show the rest of the world what it is we do and the challenges we face whilst trying to conserve sea turtles.  Akazul displayed three posters to represent significant areas of our work so far; the first “Mass Stranding Event of Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) on Guatemala’s Pacific Coast”, the second “Saving Sea Turtles through Football” and the third “A Step in the Right Direction: Redefining Community-Based Sea Turtle Conservation in Guatemala”.  The posters were all well received and we thank the sea turtle community for all its positive feedback.

Ever, Sarah & Scott at the symposium

ISTS Grass-roots award

 A real shock came at the end of the symposium – Akazul received a very special award which we share with the amazing community of La Barrona. We were voted “Best Grass-roots Project” (in the world- no less!) by the ISTS. We can’t tell you how much this means to us, after years of perseverance trying to stay involved with Guatemala and a lot of struggling, not to mention unbelievable situations, in adverse conditions, which we have been faced with since embarking on our first official year of the project. Sarah, Scott and I have all agreed that we should write a book about it all someday. So, as I mentioned previously, this is an achievement that we share with the community of La Barrona because without such an amazing and receptive group of people none of this would have happened.

Scott & Ever receiving the award


One of our aims since day one was to try and increase the profile of sea turtle conservation in Guatemala and get current research published so there will finally be some reference material out there. Over the last month or so we have had two pieces published – click on the links below to read:

Sarah's sea turtle conservation article published in La Cuadra

Akazul's hawksbill paper in MTN

2012 Turtle Season

The time is fast approaching again when we will be looking for hardworking volunteers who aren’t shy of a challenge to come and join us in La Barrona for the sea turtle season. This year we are aiming to push the Sea Turtle Stewardship Program to the next level and get the team of local volunteers to tag more turtles than last year and get more donations. It is a great time to be involved in a relatively new project which genuinely works with and involves the local community. We will officially kick off the 2012 season on July 1st with the inauguration of the hatchery and hope to combine it with the unveiling of the Sea Turtle Education Centre (funded by SWOT). Please get in touch if you are keen to learn about this season’s volunteering opportunities: 

That's the latest from Feb/March, come back soon and thanks for your support!


Akazul x