March 2002 saw the hopeful start of a new era for Leatherback turtles at Soropta beach, in the province of Bocas del Toro, northeastern Panama. Soropta had become the worst of the Leatherback killing beaches until Carlos Fernandez (Pacuare Reserve, Costa Rica) and John Denham (Trustee of Rainforest Concern) converted a timber hut behind Soropta beach to accommodate volunteers to help monitor and protect the turtles. Since then, only a single Leatherback has been killed and three more beaches, Playa Larga, San San and Sixaola, have been taken on, making a total of over 20km of protected beaches, with over 1600 Leatherback nests recorded in the last season. All four projects are managed by the Endangered Wildlife Trust and funded by Rainforest Concern for the protection of this critically endangered species.
Please visit the Endangered Wildlife Trust website for more information.