International Conservation
Reef Shark, © Ed Gullekson

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.


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.

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 Wildlife 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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Sea Turtle, © Christina Albright-Mundy
Success Stories
April, 2013: Thanks to new regulations that Defenders proposed and worked hard to promote, Mexico is protecting vital sea turtle nesting habitat.
scalloped hammerhead, © Terry Goss 2008/Marine Photobank
Success Story
September 2014 - Five species of shark and two species of manta ray have officially gained international protection!
Scarlet macaw, © Maria Elena Sanchez
Success Story
July 2014 - After being wiped out from the region more than 50 years ago, scarlet macaws are once again flying free in the Gulf of Mexico!