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About Us • Our Projects • Marine Turtles • Volunteering

This pro bono piece on Oscar Aranda shot by Aviana Productions was used on CNN

Sociedad Ecologica de Occidente is a non-profit agency in Mexico created in 2004 to promote the conservation of natural resources through clear and efficient projects, in Puerto Vallarta and the Bay of Banderas in México. The organization seeks to create simple projects, but with a clear focus that fulfills objectives with a minimum of capital.

Our vision has a clear and accurate approach, looking to bring interesting and easy understanding information to spread the seed of nature's respect.

Our Goal is to promote and to impel the protection and conservation of the wildlife and natural resources in the region of Puerto Vallarta and the Bay of Banderas in Mexico.

Our Mission is to foment the respect of nature through environmental education, creating conscience and willingness to contribute for conservation of wild life. Also, to develop and to support specific projects of conservation and ecosystem restoration, as well as find ways to obtain the economic and human resources necessary to achieve our goals.

Our Vision is to be an exemplary nonprofit organization that, through conservation projects and environmental sensitization, allows improved quality of life for new generations as we learn to cohabit in harmony with nature.

Discover the natural secrets in the region and learn about them!

Help us take care of Nature...

Projects at the Western Ecological Society

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Our main objective is to make a professional link among the society and the professionals that work in kindred projects to our mission in the Mexican region of the Bay of Banderas.

Current Projects:

We have created the Wildlife Support Fund to provide economical resources to complete necessities of high priority, like rescue, rehabilitation and the release of wild animals.
Short-Term Projects:

There are many and varied efforts for the protection and conservation of sea turtles in the Bahía de Banderas. However, there are gaps of information that require study to understand the dynamics and structure of the population of marine turtles in the Bay, which will allow us to redirect conservation efforts to the aspects that require greater attention.

In its different stages, this project will allow us to understand the following:
• What is the status of the species of Carey, Prieta, Leatherback and Olive Ridley in the Bahía de Banderas.
• How many turtles inhabit a time scale of Banderas Bay.
• What percentage of these turtles are migratory and resident.
• Know the incidence of death of turtles by accidents involving boats or fishing gear.
• Know the preferences of the turtles that nest on some beaches and correlate it with the present understandings.
• Establish an overview of the potential dangers and existing threats to sea turtles and solutions.

This ambitious project will lay the foundation for the improvement of overall strategies for the conservation of sea turtles in the region.

Long-Term Project:

In Puerto Vallarta, there is nowhere for the adequate temporary shelter and rehabilitation of recovered or confiscated wild animals. Our planned Wildlife Recovery Center will provide a space for the rehabilitation and care of animals such as sea turtles and iguanas, of which we receive many cases each year.

Marine Turtles of the Bay of Banderas

Help us take care of Nature. Click the button above to make a donation to the Sociedad Ecologica de Occidente PayPal account.

For many years, Mexico has had one of the most advanced programs of protection of marine turtles in the world, where in all the states with coast programs are implemented for the protection of this resource and operated as much for the authorities as for non-profit organizations.

Puerto Vallarta is a great example of this, since its program, created in 1993, links successfully the tourist companies and the all-levels authorities of into the protection activities and conservation of the marine turtles. Every year, the visitors have had the opportunity to see these animals nesting along the beach, under the protective watch of the police.

The main objective of this program is to protect the eggs from the looting and natural predators in order to obtain a bigger quantity of baby turtles. The eggs are obtained from the nests that the turtles make naturally in any beach, They are then planted in protected corrals (hatcheries), located in the beach of the most important hotels, where they are incubated naturally.

Also, there are organized public liberations of baby turtles to the sea with the participation of tourists and local people, as part of the activities of environmental education. The purpose is to create a culture of conservation of the natural resources and to give knowledge of the importance of the program of protecting marine turtles.

The Protected Species:

The importance of the program of protection of marine turtles in Mexico resides in that in the Mexican coasts, 6 of the 7 species nest from all over the world. The most common species in Bahia de Banderas and Puerto Vallarta, is the Olive Ridley turtle or "Golfina" (Lepidochelys olivacea), but on occasions the enormous Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), the Green turtle (Chelonia agassizii) and the Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) visit us.

The Olive Ridley nests mainly between June and December, and in each season they can return up to 3 times, depositing in each occasion between 80 and 120 eggs. Sometimes they lay up 160 eggs.

The exact number of survival is unknown, but is estimated that in the natural environment, of each 1,000 turtles that are born, between one and five will survive until adulthood, and these will take between 8 and 12 years to mature enough to be able to spawn on the same beach where they were born.

With programs like this, protecting the eggs from their predators, it is estimated that 3 to 5% will survive. Here is where the success of the program resides, The protection of these organisms during the first and more vulnerable stage of its growth: the incubation of the egg.

The Operation of the Program:

The civil organizations take charge of the gathering, transport and delivery of the nests during the nights. They assist the reports of the civil society, and the federal and municipal authorities, as the Naval Sector, Civil Protection and Municipal Police participate actively.

Later on, the recovered eggs are buried in hatcheries or "corrals" of incubation, where they are protected and are free of danger during 45 days. Most of these nurseries are located in some of the hotels and more important condominiums who participate actively in this program.

After the baby turtles hatch, between July and December, they are carried out in public liberations to the sea of breedings daily with the participation of visitors from everywhere.

Each participant has the opportunity to release a baby turtle, after having listening to an informative speech, and always following the directions given by the biologist.

Besides these works, the cure and rehabilitation of wounded turtles is carried out by a specialized group of veterinarians who carries out the necessary surgeries. So far, they have been carried out two operations (amputations) of fins caught in fishing nets have been successful for two turtles.

Volunteer at the Western Ecological Society

Sea Turtles Experience:

This is not a commercial tour; instead, you will be actively participating in a real turtles conservation program with an experienced biologist.

First you will help patrol the beach, respectfully observing sea turtles nesting and laying eggs.  Then you will help us to collect their eggs and bury them in a safe nursery.  You'll have the opportunity to see some baby turtles hatching from their nests and letting them go into the sea.

This service is available from July 15th to October 30th.

Every year more and more marine turtles come to nest in our beaches, laying more eggs, and we have not enough resources to take care of them and achieve our objectives.

As a Volunteer, you´ll support our cause, contributing with your time to the efforts carried out in Mexico to restore the marine turtles population.

Nesting season begins in June, ending in November.  From July to October, volunteers are welcome, with August and September being the months with more activity.

Activities to do are wide and simple. Some of the activities you´ll carry out are:

• Nocturnal patrolling of Puerto Vallarta beaches, protection of marine turtles nesting, collecting their eggs and burying them in to our nurseries (hatcheries).

• Daily care & control of the nurseries.

• Participate in our public baby turtles release events.

In general, procedures and requirements are:

• To be older than 18 years (Those with less than 17 years most be supervised by an adult. Those older than 17 and younger than 18 years most provide a sign permit of his parents).

• To participate directly into the Project for at least 3 weeks (Volunteers will be accepted for less time, but the experience will be reduced significantly).

• Each volunteer is responsible for the totality of costs of accommodation and food, as well as any other cost which may incur during the participation in the program.

• To receive basic training (obligatory course) and to participate daily to get the minimal experience required. This course is provided by us without cost, and includes basic and field training.

If you are interested, send an email to the Volunteer Program Coordinator, Oscar Aranda at

Last updated: February 22, 2020 · Charity ID: 206

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