And we’re back to wrap up our latest Ulysses S. Seal Conservation Grant trip to Guatemala with our Social Media and Marketing Coordinator, Josh Le. Be sure to check out Part 1 of his trip here.
Guatemala has been amazing and working with the local wildlife conservation organization, ARCAS has been a great experience. I recently traveled from their Peten Rescue Center in the middle of the tropical rainforest to their San Lucas City Office and work with the Director of Administration on further developing their social media strategy, as well as learn more about the educational outreach work this office does with the local communities and schools. Similar to the Minnesota Zoo’s Zoomobile program, ARCAS spreads out into the local communities with non-releasable animals to teach individuals and groups about the importance of the local wildlife and why it is so important to protect them and the natural habitats in which they live.
From their San Lucas Office, I then hopped in their ARCAS-mobile and drove down to their Hawaii Parque location. This branch of their organization focuses on reptiles and marine life, specifically sea turtles. In fact, ARCAS Hawaii Parque manages the most successful sea turtle hatchery on the Guatemalan Pacific Coast. Although this time of year is the end of the sea turtle nesting/hatching season, I was fortunate enough to see 39 Olive Ridley sea turtles hatch out and then help release them into the ocean. The attached video is very short as artificial light is very distracting to the hatchlings and makes it difficult for them to navigate to the sea. During the height of the sea turtle nesting season, ARCAS staff and volunteers conduct night-walks along the beach several times throughout the evening (typically 8:00 pm, 11:00 pm and 3:30 am) to monitor the number of female sea turtles laying eggs.
Along with the work they do with reptiles and marine life, ARCAS Hawaii Parque also focuses on community development and protecting the local mangroves – which is an important ecosystem for many local wildlife species. Again, I am so fortunate to be able to go on this trip (thanks to the Ulysses S. Seal Conservation Grant) and learn more about and even assist with wildlife conservation efforts in a different part of the world. Helping them develop a solid social media strategy will hopefully help them continue with spread the great work they do, as well as source much needed volunteers for their various sites.
Thanks for following my adventure and you can follow the many future Minnesota Zoo wildlife conservation trips on our social media networks at @mnzoo & #MNZooConserve!