Barra Salada beach was the site chosen for a sea turtle festival, in which more than 200 people from different communities belonging to the Los Cóbanos conservation area participated.
The Tortuga Fest is one of the activities of the project to restore and conserve natural resources in the Los Cóbanos Marine Park, implemented by the Zoological Foundation of El Salvador (FUNZEL) with the financial support of the Environmental Investment Fund of El Salvador (FIAES), since June 2018.
In the first edition of this event, there were bicycle races, sale of organic products, environmental cinema, educational talks and release of sea turtles. Los Izalcos Autonomous Decentralized Micro-Region Entity (EDAMI) and Balsam Association, which implement projects in the area, participated in the event.
Sea turtles are in danger of extinction, however, initiatives such as the one promoted by FUNZEL together with local residents are giving this marine species a chance to live.
The education and sensitization of the population is one of the important axes of FUNZEL's work in Barra Salada, in order to prevent turtle eggs from being commercialized as they were a few years ago, before a permanent ban is declared in the country, which penalizes the consumption and sale of products derived from this species. This has been achieved through an environmental education program that is developed in 3 schools and cultural activities such as the Tortuga Fest.
One of the threats facing turtles is plastic, which can be confused with food. It is for this reason that children are taught about proper solid waste management and sea turtle biology.
The project also includes the installation of two incubation corrals, one in Playa Dorada and the other in Barra Salada, within the Los Cóbanos Marine Park, one of the most important marine coastal areas in the country, due to its rocky coral reefs. In this place, nest and feed sea turtles of the 4 types: hawksbill, olive ridley, black and baule.
During the 6 months of the nesting season, the goal of the project is to release 110,500 turtles with the support of local people, who in addition to an economic incentive, receive training in egg handling.
The marine park is part of the Los Cóbanos conservation area, where FIAES currently finances 3 projects that are implemented in the upper, middle and lower parts of the territory. This intervention strategy makes it possible to reduce or counteract the threats that affect ecosystems and cause the loss of biodiversity.
In the conservation area there is a mixture of ecosystems made up of mountainous elevations, coastal plains, salty forest and the rocky coral reef. This area is affected by poor agricultural and fishing practices, pollution and siltation in the lower part that is causing the loss of mangroves.