Volunteers conserve endangered sea turtles in remote Panama

JAQUE, Panama (AP) — Iver Valencia goes out at dusk each evening during nesting season with a group of lantern-wielding villagers to walk a stretch of Panamanian beach. Their mission: to find nests where endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles lay their eggs and take them to a hatchery safe from predators.

On a recent night, Valencia and the others in the remote province of Darien in southeast Panama found five nests with dozens of eggs.

Valencia has been doing this for 18 years in the face of threats from poachers.

Valencia and his allies built a hatchery in the town of Jaque shaded by wood and wire. Inside, they place the eggs in baskets where they’ll hatch in two months’ time. Then the baby turtles will be released to the sea.

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