Over 1,000 sea turtle researchers and conservationists will gather in Mexico from January 19-26 to share the latest news and report their progress on sea turtle monitoring and conservation – and to honor the occassion 4 Copas Tequila, the world’s first certified organic tequila, is producing a limited edition sea turtle bottle. Proceeds will go to Seaturtle.org, a non-profit organization that runs satellite tracking projects on turtles – a key method for scientists and the public to learn about sea turtles’ movements and behavior.
Rather than just getting drunk on organic tequila of course, the turtle symposium provides a valuable opportunity to share information and new research. Reports at the symposium will include details on the plight of the Hawksbill sea turtle, which is now ecologically extinct in the Eastern Pacific Ocean; a new review places them near the top of the list of the region’s most endangered ocean animals, as well as more positive stories, such as the story of a leatherback sea turtle that was tracked swimming from Indonesia across the Pacific to Oregon, USA – a distance of 20,558 kilometers/ 12,774 miles over 647 days.
As a meeting focused on the environment, the organizors have also made efforts to ensure the symposium itself is as eco-friendly as possible. The 1000 participants will be invited to take on the ‘LIVBLUE Challenge’ – a philosophy that encourages people to “live like you love the ocean…” Green initiatives include camping and home stays, using public transportation or walking, reducing waste, and sustainable organic/local eating choices. Even energy will be sustainably produced with a solar trailer for recharging attendees’ laptops, cell phones and flashlights! LIVBLUE Awards will be given to travelers with the lowest carbon footprint, greatest distance traveled in an eco-friendly manner and most novel methods of footprint reduction.
The symposium will also mark the launch of the Ocean Conservancy’s SEE Turtles Program. Although the typical ecotourism mantra has been to “leave no impact,” the program suggests that tourists should make an impact – a positive one – by aiding conservation. The program will encourage travelers to boost the local economy at important sea turtle sites to ensure that sea turtles are worth more alive than dead.