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.
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.