In May of 2009 I had the experience of a lifetime! I had the opportunity to volunteer with the Endangered Wildlife Trust on Playa Soropta in Panama! Even though it was physically the hardest experience of my life it was definitely one that I will NEVER forget. Everynight for one week I hiked 12km with Luis and/or Armodio, two young Panamanian citizens who were hired to patrol the beach of Playa Soropta. Just a couple years before this beach would have been littered with the carcasses of numerous female leatherback turtles who had come ashore to nest. Unfortunately there were many human poachers awaiting her arrival. Even before she could begin to lay, they would slice her neck with a machete, cut her belly open to remove her eggs and hack off her flippers for human consumption. Thankfully The Endangered Wildlife Trust came to the leatherbacks rescue and built a volunteer dormitory and center on the beach. Now since 2001, volunteers can live with an on site biologist, 6 local young men and a cook to help conserve these beautiful species. Thankfully since 2001 not one turtle has been killed on this stretch of beach, however poachers still do lurk hoping to steal the eggs. That is why patrolling the beach is so important. By volunteers and the boys walking the beach for four hours everynight we literally keep the poachers away and the beautiful Leatherbacks can nest and return to the ocean safely. The Endangered Wildlife Trust is one of my favourite charities because I have been able to see first hand how they are helping to save these beautiful creatures from extinction!!
For more info and support please visit: http://www.turtleprotection.org
**PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU SHOULD NEVER TAKE PHOTOS OF A TURTLE WHILE NESTING. I WAS ALLOWED THIS PHOTO BECAUSE THE SUN WAS RISING AND SHE WAS RETUNING TO THE SEA!!**