Conservation

Why we are big into conservation at La Tortuga Verde

 

 

The idea of turning an aging ocean front property into a eco-friendly environmentally-supportive hotel, restaurant, yoga retreat, turtle sanctuary, and seabird rehabilitation center was not conceived in an effort to create more capitalism but rather to create more jobs and education in an economically and socially challenged fishing village located along one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. (I figure that’s how I can make a difference…. and your part is coming up next so please read on….)

You might have noticed as you read through the website that the prices for our excursions, meals and especially our rooms are well below industry standards. However one should not think for a moment that our amenities and services are anything other than the best that hard work by loving people that truly want to work and have very few opportunities can provide.

In other words the more visitors that visit our retreat the more work for people that want to work is generated and so we thank you for your consideration and hope you visit us.

That being said there are several ways that you as a virtual visitor to our resort can give back to both the planet and our little village of Playa El Esteron without actually visiting La Tortuga Verde .

Although I started La Tortuga Verde with the dream of returning every sea turtle that comes ashore back to the ocean I now divide my time between saving sea turtles, returning free flying injured sea birds back into flight, saving the mangrove wilderness area and planting as any coconut trees as I can.

For those of you that have visited La Tortuga Verde and have had the good fortune to come to know and love Albert, Bill, Carla, Dora, Funghi, and Velle  before they returned to flight or crossed over to another world I don’t need to tell you what a wonderful feeling you get in the gut of your stomach and in the warmth of your heart when you come to realize that YOU can make a difference. Seeing a free flying sea bird that you have rehabilitated fly away and then one day return to say thank you as he turns his head away from the fresh fish you offer him as you try to feed him just like you have done for the last 3 or 4 months during the rehabilitation process will bring tears to your eyes. It’s at that moment you come to realize the power of the connection when the connection is about to break.

 

Saving New Born Sea Turtles

The “Hatch & Release” Program

 Baby turtles are very resilient and dedicated creatures, crawling their way out of the sand and swimming out into the wide ocean all in their first hour after birth.

It was only 8 years ago as I was relaxing one evening in my ocean front screened-in casita located next door to the La Tortuga Verde property and a tortugador, (that’s what they call the people who steal turtle eggs), followed a sea turtle who had come ashore to lay eggs into my green zone, (that’s the natural vegetation area of land between ones private property line and the high tide line which I had created as a safe haven for turtles), and dug up and stole all of the turtle eggs right in front of my eyes. (Turtles typically lay between 7 – 12 dozen eggs at a time.) My first reaction was to “citizen arrest” the person but thought it best to discuss this insane conduct with my workers the following day to get a feel for the customs of our little village.

 

I know you’re going to find this hard to believe but at that time, in 2008, it was not against the law for anyone to walk down the beach and steal and sell or eat as many turtle eggs as one could possibly encounter so my workers questioned my concern. My Concern??? Yikes!!!

 

The following day my workers suggested to me that I purchase turtle eggs at the going market rate (they were selling at between $1-$3 per dozen depending upon demand from the local restaurants) and although it seemed illogical (kind of like “putting out fire with gasoline”) I agreed to experiment with the idea and purchased, re-buried, and released over 10,000 turtle eggs during that year. It was at that moment the idea of the Hatch & Release Program was born. In addition I spent the year harassing the government of El Salvador to restrict or abolish the practice of the taking of turtle eggs.

 

The following year the selling of turtle eggs (but not the eating thereof !!! go figure ??) was declared illegal by the government of El Salvador (I guess my efforts paid off to some degree) and so in an effort to send a message to the tortugadores I spread the word that the “gringo” was not purchasing turtle eggs in 2009 and in fact I purchased no turtle eggs the entire year.

 

Starting with the 2010 and continuing on to this year in the 2013 turtle season which begins in early April we have been purchasing turtle eggs, reburying them and releasing them under or Hatch & ReleaseProgram and sharing the experience of both the laying of the eggs and the hatching of the eggs with those of you that visit our retreat.

Here at La Tortuga Verde we are keeping poachers from eating the eggs and putting them back in the sand so they can grow and hatch into healthy baby turtles.

The way it works is that there is a little red light switch in each of the rooms of the hotel and if you would like to be awakened in the middle of the night to view the turtle laying process or the turtle hatching process you will be notified and escorted to the location.

 

Pretty much we can almost guarantee you that if you are our guest for a week during the June to November turtle season you will certainly either see turtles laying eggs and or the hatching of eggs or both!!!

Everbody at La Tortuga Verde gets a baby turtle during the releases into the wild ocean.

You don’t have to be here in person to make a difference. Even virtual tourists can help by donating. See what amazing work your donation could do to help La Tortuga Verde with conservation.

 


 Children and adults learn about the turtles, together we're helping to save an endangered species.

The “Hatch & Release” Program and “Save a Momma” Program

-Liberating newborn sea turtles and supporting injured adult sea turtles – We will post progress on our Facebook and email you!

  1. For $30 you can buy and liberate 120 baby turtles.
  2. Save the turtles for one day for $30, one week for $210, one month for $900, and all season for $3600!
  3. Or support a volunteer to reach out and help for one month for $300
  4. *We have about 4 months of possibilities of buying about 100-200 eggs a night and saving them from being eaten. (yes it is illegal, but we need can help first by buying as many as we can) 1 day equals a $30 donation – 1 week equals a $210 – 1 month equals $900! – 4 months $3600.

Donate any amount now through paypal.

 

The “One Day You’ll Fly” Program

-Saving Free Flying Seabirds-

  1. For $200 you can return 1 injured sea bird to flight.  We will post progress on our Facebook and email you! (Over 25 birds saved and counting, pelicans, blue-footed boobies, egrets and more)

 The “No Coconut Left Behind” Program

-Reforesting Coconut Tree Plantations

Donate any amount through paypal.

  1. For $25 you can plant 250 baby coconut trees

 

The “Mangrove Preservation” Program

-Preserving Untouched Mangrove Wilderness- believe us, it needs our help. This ecosystem saves human lives as well as many many animal and plant lives. Come visit to see your efforts!
Donate any amount through paypal.

  1. For $300 you can protect the mangrove trees for 1 month

 

Saving Free Flying Seabirds

The “One Day You’ll Fly” Program:

Tom feeding our one winged pelican Albert.

One day I dropped a large sea turtle that came into the facility sick and barely moving into the giant live saltwater fish tank that we use to keep the fresh fish alive which is the food source for the sea birds in rehabilitation. At that time we had 2 pelicans in residency. Bill and Funghi who had become good friends during the 3 months of their rehabilitation. After 3 months Funghi clearly appeared to me that he was ready to fly and that he was just hanging around for the free food while Bill was clearly still on the mend. The next morning Funghi sensed that the food source had dried up “bigtime” and started to walk toward the beach as Bill followed. Funghi spread his wings and took flight as Bill followed however as Funghi disappeared into the horizon Bill fell into the sea about 100 meters out from La Tortuga. I paddled out into the ocean on my surfboard to retrieve Bill and said to him………..

“ONE DAY YOU”LL FLY… BUT TODAY IS NOT YOUR DAY”

It was at that moment the One Day You’ll Fly Program was born.

If you would like to help us return a free flying sea bird back into flight you can sponsor the rehabilitation of an injured sea bird and we promise to send you photos of the bird you sponsor and photos of your bird with the many people who visit the resort and enjoy the bird you are sponsoring throughout its stay with us. Fresh fish are 25 cents each and the sea bird eats about 8 fish per day. The average rehabilitation period to return a free flying seabird back into flight is about 100 days and so a donation of $200 will get you a One Day You’ll Fly T-Shirt and a video of the sea bird you are saving . Lesser donations in any amount are appreciated as well.

Donate any amount now through paypal.

 

 

Memory of Albert VIDEO LINK will be HERE!!!

Planting New Coconut Trees

The “No Coconut Left Behind” ProgramBuilt on an old coconut plantation La Tortuga Verde is covered in cocnut trees, growing fresh coconuts for every day enjoyment!

When I first came to the tiny fishing village of Playa El Esteron I learned that no one drinks the milk or eats the fruit from brown coconuts. Go Figure? I didn’t understand why because I was born in Miami Beach, Florida where I would come across and break open brown coconuts everyday on my way to elementary school. Esteron was literally drowning in brown coconuts “basura” garbage along with the garbage from the green coconuts that everyone loved. Then one day I went to Isla de Mandez in the Gulf of Jicalisco where the entire island is dedicated to the cultivation of brown coconuts that they turn into machine grade coconut oil. WOW.. I thought!!! Esteron and Isla de Mendez should kind of meet and work out some kind of deal to turn trash into money!!! Although I wasn’t able to put that deal together the experience inspired me to come up with the No Coconut Left Behind Program where we purchase all the brown coconuts we can from the local villagers for 10 cents apiece and replant them in out coconut vivero. No with the value of brown coconuts almost equal to that of green coconuts the village of Esteron is no longer making garbage… it’s making money and greening the planet at the same time. I’ve tried to educate the villagers to the fact that they could plant the trees themselves in their own vivero and sell them a year later for $1 as a small coconut tree but unfortunately I wasn’t able to sell that deal either. There’s just something cool about seeing an almost dried-up coconut yearning to become a tree sprout and reach for the sky!!

Donate any amount now through paypal.

 

Preserving the Mangrove Trees **

The “Mangrove Preservation” Program

 Appreciate the lush greenery of the mangrove ecosystem.

If you came to La Tortuga Verde and asked me what would be the most important thing for me as a eco-conscious visitor to see or do given only a short 2 hour window of opportunity I would hands down say it would be the boat trip up the mangrove river. The boat trip takes as little as an hour if we pick up the pace and speed you through the experience and lasts a lifetime if you have a connection with the planet we live on or the air we breath.

 

And even if you zipped through the experience you would leave the mangrove altered and almost in tears because when you see that this is one of the most beautiful places on the planet disappearing right in front of your eyes and smell one of the most important vegetation areas in the country evaporating right in front of your nose you will say to yourself there could be no higher calling in life but for ALL OF US to work together and preserve this cornerstone of the planet.

 

Although protecting the natural fauna that live in the mangrove is extremely important as well I believe protecting their natural habitat is more important than all of the other efforts of the La Tortuga Verde Family combined. This is a must and we must unite now in our effort because “evil forces are at hand” and there is no time to spare. Unlike the Hatch and Release program which saves many turtles as many others die the Mangrove Preservation program is extremely important as the Mangrove area in question is slated for Complete and Utter Annihilation within the next few years. The government of El Salvador simply doesn’t have the resources to stop developers and poachers from “clear cutting” all of the magnificent trees in the mangrove. Given no government intervention the financial rewards to those that disregard the laws of preservation are so great that the idea of loosing this habitat forever is the only game in town. We La Tortuga Verde would gladly donate our boat to police the area but we lack the funds to put the boat into service. $10 a day would pay for the gas to send the boat up the river with the local Police force on board to stop the destruction.

The green area with the river running through is the area in question:

Donate any amount now through paypal.

 

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