How do we best allocate limited conservation resources to safeguard widespread, migratory species like marine turtles? What are the most important threats to marine turtles? Where are the best and worst places in the world to be a sea turtle?
To answer these questions, the Burning Issues Working Group of the IUCN-SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group (MTSG)–with the support of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)–created a novel system of assessing conservation status and threats of all marine turtle populations in the world, and published the results of this work in the online scientific journal PLoS ONE. The study was designed to provide a blueprint for conservation and research, and determined the most and least threatened marine turtle populations in the world (see maps at right).
We conducted an international media campaign around the results by crafting specific messages for target geographic markets. Our main goal was to describe characteristics of populations most under threat as well as of populations that are doing well, in the hopes of highlighting–and applying–the lessons learned from the “healthy” populations to the “not-so-healthy” populations.