Date: 5 September 2023
Author: Dr. Alan Zavala Norzagaray.
Nomination by: Instituto Politécnico Nacional, CIIDIR-IPN UNIDAD SINALOA
Two generations–uncle and nephew–both fishermen for many years, now supporting sea turtle conservation. Mr Jesús Mariano García Olivas and his nephew, Edmundo Rafael García Burgos, are from Dautillo, a fishing community in the municipality of Navolato, in the state of Sinaloa, Mexico.
Both Leatherback Heroes are part of the Fishing Production Cooperative in Dautillo and for the past 12 years active collaborators in research, monitoring, and environmental education coordinated by the Wildlife Protection and Conservation Program of CIIDIR-IPN, Sinaloa.
Both Sr. Jesús and Edmundo García participate in CONANP’s Advisory Committee del APFF “Gulf of California Islands”, and in collaborative networks for sea turtle conservation such as Grupo Tortuguero de las Californias and the Sinaloa Turtle Network. Among their outstanding collaborative work, they participate in projects examining effects of modifying fishing gear for shrimp and experiments with turtle excluder devices.
They have earned their status as Leatherback Heroes, in large part through their collaboration in reporting sightings and bycatch of leatherbacks, most recently in March 2023, when they rescued two leatherbacks accidentally captured in fishing gear on two separate occasions. The leatherbacks–both females–were named “Ariadne” and “Liam Neytham”, and were treated and rehabilitated before being released by the Wildlife Protection and Conservation Program of CIIDIR-IPN, Sinaloa.
As a result of the efforts coordinated by Jesús and Edmundo, satellite transmitters were attached to each turtle to acquire valuable information about the at-sea behavior of these animals.
Left: satellite transmitter being attached to the central keel of a leatherback. Right: Leatherback turtle Liam Neytham on her way back to sea. Foto: Alan Zavala Norzagaray.