The Leatherback Project Dives into its Mission
Rooted in research, conservation, advocacy, and outreach initiatives, The Leatherback Project (TLP) and its founder, National Geographic Explorer Callie Veelenturf, are determined to protect leatherback sea turtles and other species throughout their global range. Callie’s recent tagging work revealed the Pearl Islands Archipelago in Panama as a critical leatherback hotspot.
The Islas Secas Foundation — The Moore Charitable Foundation’s Panama affiliate — is proud to fund Callie’s extraordinary efforts along with The Philip Stephenson Foundation, including her latest expedition in July to conduct further research and understand the intricacies of conservation in the area. Centered around Saboga and Contadora Islands, Veelenturf surveyed seven coral reef sites to learn more about this unique habitat and the diverse species that call it home. TLP made significant progress on the turtle tagging project, more than doubling the number of tagged turtles, from 25 to 63.
Onshore, TLP held a community workshop for fishermen and families to acknowledge local economic concerns and for TLP to share its mission, current efforts to save the critically endangered turtle population, and the importance of preserving marine life for the local economy and future generations. Local partnerships and collaboration are key to driving conservation impacts.
There is much to be done, and TLP continues to advocate for the rights of nature, conserve leatherback sea turtles, conduct community outreach, and research other initiatives in the archipelago. In the end, extinction is forever, and it is up to us to guarantee that the environment remains clean, diverse, and strong — for species and communities alike.