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Concepción Carmona Balbuena. Always smiling and committed to sea turtle protection. Foto: GroBios A.C.

Date: 13 June 2023
Author: César Arroyo and Adriana Lechuga 
Nomination made by: Organización GroBios A.C. (Socio-ecological projects for biodiversity conservation and protection in Michoacán-Guerrero, México).


Our hero, Concepción Carmona Balbuena, from Mexico, has for the last 7 years dedicated her heart and commitment to the protection of marine turtles that arrive to beaches where she works.

The turtle camp where she works, “The Sea Lion”, located in the beach of La Bocana, Marquelia municipality, in Guerrero state, was founded in 2002 by Mr Roberto López C. (1957-2017). This legacy of love, respect, gratitude, responsibility, and perseverance was left to Concepción Carmona Balbuena, affectionately known as “Conchita”, who for the past 7 years has been a sea turtle protector with the support of the family who runs the camp.  

Her work is a source of fulfillment and learning, because in addition to protecting turtle nests, they promote education through teaching about the importance of these animals and of the beach to the various visitors to the camp.

Three sea turtle species nest and are protected at La Bocana–leatherbacks (Garapacho), Dermochelys coriacea), olive ridley (“golfina”), Lepidochelys olivacea) and green turtles (“negra”, Chelonia mydas)–which, thanks to the work of our hero, Conchita, can lay their eggs securely in her hands, ensuring the eggs will fully incubate and hatchlings will be safely released into the ocean. For the leatherback or garapacho, the work of Mrs. Conchita represents a true hope for this species that is in critical danger of extinction, for which reason the protection of all nests is very important.


Señora Concepción Carmona burying a leatherback nest in the camp hatchery
Foto: GroBios A. C.
Foto: GroBios A.C.


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The Eastern Pacific Leatherback Turtle Conservation Network started in 2012 when over thirty researchers, NGOs, and regional experts came together to develop an action plan to stabilize and restore the leatherback turtle population in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.