Apr 22, 2022
In November 2021, GoPro for a Cause teamed up with California and Mexico-based organization WILDCOAST, or COSTASALVAJE in Spanish, to help tell the story of their incredible conservation efforts.
“WILDCOAST is helping protect 38 million acres of coastlines, ocean habitat, coral reefs, mangrove forests, sea turtle nesting beaches, gray whale breeding lagoons, wetlands, islands and more,” explains WILDCOAST's Outreach Coordinator Yehuda Ben-Hamo. “We establish and manage protected areas, advance strong conservation policies, and engage communities in the protection and stewardship of healthy, thriving oceans, coastlines and wildlife.
In honor of Earth Day today, we are excited to share the final product of this partnership in the best way GoPro knows how—a video. The video (featured below) follows WILDCOAST to La Sanctuaria Escobilla in Oaxaca for an “arribada,” meaning “arrival” in Spanish. Arribadas happen every year, between July and January, when thousands of female olive ridley turtles converge on the shore to lay eggs.
Specifically in Oaxaca, WILDCOAST protects 22.5 miles of coastline, the two most important olive ridley sea turtle nesting beaches in the world, where more than 72 million eggs have hatched since 2017.
“Under moonlight, the females slowly make their way across the beach, one flipper after the next, until they find a suitable spot to make a nest. This occurs at only a handful of beaches across the planet,” explains Yehuda.
We sat down with WILDCOAST to learn more about these arribada.
GoPro: What project did you team up with GoPro for a Cause on?
WILDCOAST: We protect critical sea turtle nesting habitat in the Mexican Pacific through partnerships with the National Mexican Turtle Center, Mexico’s National Commission of Natural Areas (CONANP) and local indigenous communities.
We establish federal zone concessions, monitor sea turtles’ eggs and nests, control poaching + invasive species, and engage the local community in conservation stewardship.
Why did you choose GoPro?
One of the key components to our conservation work is storytelling. WILDCOAST has such a diverse and compelling group of projects that we have spent the last two years expanding our video and film assets to spotlight our field work and mission. Working with GoPro for a Cause has been such an incredible experience in so many ways.
The generous donation of HERO10 Black cameras allows our team to document our work, share our conservation successes and tell the stories of our local community partners. Having an expert filmmaker and editor on the sea turtle project brought so much to the table, and we are thrilled with the resulting short film that takes the viewer on a trip to Oaxaca to view an arribada on a beach that we help protect.
What do you hope viewers learn or take action to do after watching this video?
We hope the beautiful imagery and compelling narrative inspire people to be environmental stewards and want to save the precious natural resources and wildlife that we have left. As GoPro for a Cause’s pillars align with WILDCOAST’s mission and ethos, we hope to make many more projects with the team.
How are the local residents engaged in your work?
Working with local communities and especially students on wildlife conservation campaigns is critical in the defense of threatened ecosystems and wildlife.
Protecting wildlife would be impossible to carry out in rural and remote areas like southern Oaxaca without the involvement and education of local residents, especially in the indigenous coastal communities. They’re the ones on the frontline. The ecosystems we are protecting are part of their communities and livelihoods.
Expanding conservation outreach programs helps us reach communities at large, including the next generation of conservation stewards. This helps reduce threats of poaching and other human activities that can significantly impact the turtles.
What is the best way for supporters to get involved with WILDCOAST?
If you’d like to help us conserve critical sea turtle nesting habitat in southern Mexico, please consider making a donation at wildcoast.org. A donation of:
You can also sign up for our eNewsletter on our website to hear more about our conservation in action and updates on our programs. Or join us on one of our VIP donor trips to witness an arribada in Oaxaca or visit a gray whale breeding lagoon in Baja.
You can follow along on WILDCOAST’s social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tik Tok or Instagram.
You can learn more about getting involved with GoPro for a Cause here.