How to Protect Sea Turtles in Panama

A new law has been established that helps protect sea turtles in Panama and provide the right to live and have free passage in a healthy environment.
Reading Time: 2 minutes

A new law has been established that helps protect sea turtles in Panama and provide the right to live and have free passage in a healthy environment. Image: Pixabay

Reading Time: 2 minutes

How to Protect Sea Turtles in Panama

Nature influences every aspect of our lives, from the food we eat to the resources we use to build our cities and make our clothes. And yet, humans have often been seen as taking advantage of nature, disrupting the environment to serve their benefit. It has taken a toll on many species worldwide, some of which are at the brink of extinction due to human interference.  

Many people worldwide are beginning to recognize species, natural entities, and ecosystems’ legal rights to exist, persist, thrive and regenerate. They are fighting for the right to nature to protect these living beings from disappearing. 

Sea Turtles in Panama  

Panama is home to most of the world’s sea turtles. Five of the seven species worldwide live in the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. It is one of the most important nesting spots in the world for leatherback sea turtles and hawksbill sea turtles. One beach has over 3000 hawksbill nests per year.  

Unfortunately, these species are classified as endangered, critically endangered or vulnerable. Sea turtles are at risk due to human-induced threats such as entanglement in fishing gear, illegal trade and consumption, coastal development, pollution and climate change.  

Major conservation efforts led by local communities and groups work to protect sea turtles in Panama. This is why over 200 Panamanian beaches serve as protective nesting sites for these creatures.

Recently, a new law has been established to protect sea turtles in Panama and give them the right to live and have free passage in a healthy environment. The law allows a citizen of Panama to be the voice of sea turtles and defend them legally. It also allows them to hold governments, corporations, and public citizens legally accountable for violations of the rights of sea turtles.  

Rights to Nature law  

This new law will protect sea turtles in Panama and provide a right to a clean environment free of pollution and other negative human impacts such as climate change, coastal development, unregulated tourism, etc. The law prohibits all domestic and international commerce in sea turtles, parts and eggs. The only exception is for subsistence use by select traditional communities.  

The law to protect sea turtles in Panama was passed earlier this year and has already been cited by the Sea Turtle Conservancy in Florida. The conservancy used the law to call Panama’s police and natural resource managers to intervene at one leatherback turtle nesting site illegal egg hunters have pressured. There is pressure now to make this law valid in places outside of Panama where sea turtles are found.  

Providing animals with rights is one step towards protecting them and allowing their populations to regenerate. Experts hope this law will encourage other countries to take similar steps to protect local species at risk and that these laws will be recognized worldwide where these species are found. 

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