Caribbean Conservation Corporation (CCC), the world's first conservation organization devoted to sea turtles, works to ensure the continued survival of sea turtles and related marine and coastal wildlife through research, education, advocacy, and protection of the natural areas where they live.
Founded by the father of sea turtle biology, Dr. Archie Carr, CCC has provided much of the world's research on sea turtles and sparked a worldwide effort to help the animals survive. The organization was also the driving force behind one of the environmental movement's greatest success stories — the rescue of the endangered Caribbean green turtle from imminent extinction.
CCC's geographic focus is the wider Caribbean, including the southeastern United States. The colonies of green turtles, loggerheads, hawksbills, and leatherbacks that nest at Tortuguero, Costa Rica, and in Florida, are among the largest remaining sea turtle populations in the Western Hemisphere. The CCC serves the entire Caribbean basin because of the highly migratory nature of sea turtles. In addition to its Costa Rican and U.S. programs, the organization sponsors projects in Bermuda, the Bahamas, and the eastern Caribbean.
CCC has been studying and protecting the sea turtles that nest on the beaches of Tortuguero, Costa Rica, for more than four decades. The organization's cooperative efforts with the Costa Rican government led to the establishment of Tortuguero National Park, strengthened sea turtle protection laws, and saved the Caribbean green turtle from immediate extinction. Also, CCC works to ensure the enforcement of existing laws protecting sea turtles by raising funds for park guards and the equipment necessary to protect Tortuguero's turtles from poachers. Since 1998, CCC has been helping the governments of Costa Rica and Panama protect sea turtles and their habitats through the implementation of a regional management agreement. CCC expanded its current program at Tortuguero in 2000 to include satellite tracking of the region's nesting turtles, a project that is illustrating to government officials and citizens the importance of cooperation between nations that share the same sea turtle populations.
The Sea Turtle Survival League was established in 1993 to protect sea turtles in the United States, especially in Florida. The programs objectives are to educate people about sea turtles and the threats to their survival; advocate on behalf of sea turtles and their habitats; and coordinate a statewide sea turtle conservation network. In 2001, the STSL launched the "Free the Beach Campaign" to stop the continued destruction of Florida's beaches due to poorly designed coastal management policies. The STSL works with Congress annually to ensure federal money is appropriated to expand the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, the nation's only sea turtle refuge.
The cornerstone of CCC's Wider Caribbean program is the Bermuda Turtle Project. Established by CCC in the 1960s, this project studies juvenile turtles in and around Bermuda and is the longest continuous study of its kind. In addition, CCC works in St. Kitts and the Bahamas to protect sea turtle habitats by encouraging sustainable, "turtle and beach friendly" developments.
CCC recently helped win a lawsuit to stop the legal killing of 1,800 green turtles in Costa Rica after documenting that the annual "harvest" was hiding the illegal killings of thousands more turtles. The organization also was instrumental in the signing of an international sea turtle protection agreement in Central America, which is becoming a model for other efforts to protect animals that regularly cross international boundaries. Finally, a CCC scientific delegation that attended the 2000 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Nairobi, Kenya, was a crucial part of the effort to block the reopening of trade of hawksbill sea turtle shells.
In addition to information about CCC and its programs, the organization's award-winning Web site provides educational tools such as video clips that help visitors learn about sea turtles and the threats to their survival. The site also has a bevy of quizzes and games, a virtual tour of CCC's research program in Tortuguero, Costa Rica, and the Sea Turtle Migration-Tracking Education Program, which uses satellites to track online the migratory routes of more than twenty sea turtles.
CCC seeks funding partners to support its domestic and international programs, including research and conservation work in Tortuguero, Costa Rica; advocacy initiatives in the United States; and the Sea Turtle Migration-Tracking Education Program.