International Conservation

Additional Priorities

Sea Turtles

Through education, outreach, legal reform, and direct support for on-the-ground conservation programs, Defenders is working to enhance the conservation of six of the world's seven endangered species of sea turtles that nest in Mexico. We have succeeded in getting new regulations adopted to protect sea turtle nesting sites from disruption by light sources, vegetation removal, dune destruction and mishandling of nests and newborn sea turtles.

Visit our Species at Risk: Sea Turtles page for more information about what we’re doing to help sea turtles.


Despite a moratorium on commercial whaling that began in the 1980s, every year some countries try to overturn the moratorium and remove international protections for whales.  Defenders continues to fight these attempts through our work with international treaties.

Another major threat to whales accidental trapping in fishing gear.  In 2007, Defenders was successful in getting drift nets and surface nets banned in the shark fishery in Mexico.

Visit our Species at Risk: Cook Inlet Beluga Whale and Species at Risk: North Atlantic Right Whale pages for more information about what we’re doing to help these particular species.

Mangrove Forests

Mangroves are a very important coastal ecosystem that supports many endangered species like sea turtles, manatees, parrots and many types of fish. They also support 70% of all commercial fisheries serving as breeding, refuge and feeding sites—for example the shrimp fishery. Defenders has been instrumental in getting landmark legislation adopted in Mexico to protect mangroves from tourist and industrial developments, shrimp farms and other threats.


Migratory birds face many threats during their migration as a result of habitat destruction and pollution. In Mexico, wild birds are still being trapped for the pet trade and, in some parts, are still hunted for food. Defenders of Wildife has launched a campaign to promote birdwatching to encourage bird conservation. We are working alongside environmental and tourism authorities and helping produce bird guides to help state and local governments and local conservation groups promote birdwatching in their areas. Our goal is to change the way Mexicans perceive birds and put an end to bird trapping for the pet trade.

More on International Conservation: Meet Our International Conservation Team »

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Fact Sheet
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Success Stories
December, 2013 - As part of an international effort to cut down on the devastating impact of the fin trade on shark species, Defenders helped organize a shark identification workshop in Brazil that was attended by officials from all over the continent.
Success Stories
April, 2013: Thanks to new regulations that Defenders proposed and worked hard to promote, Mexico is protecting vital sea turtle nesting habitat.