Ventura-based environmental organization garners international awards

Local nonprofit organization Paso Pacifico is quickly making a name as a global leader in wildlife conservation. Paso Pacifico works with local communities, landowners, and partner organizations to restore and protect the habitats that form building blocks for wildlife corridors. Headquartered in Ventura, they also have a team in Nicaragua, where much of their conservation work takes place. One of their most noteworthy projects in recent years was the creation of a device called the InvestEGGator, which could help restore populations of endangered sea turtles.

The InvestEGGator decoy egg – an innovative solution for tracking international trade routes of turtle egg poachers in Central America with the help of GPS trackers – has been making headlines, but Paso Pacifico’s impact extends far beyond fighting turtle poachers. Some of their other initiatives include helping Nicaraguan women learn the business, management, and technical skills needed to farm sustainable wild oysters, working with communities in Central American to protect the recently-endangered population of Yellow-naped Amazon parrots, studying and increasing the population of black-handed spider monkeys, and inspiring Nicaragua’s youth to become the next generation of environmental stewards.

Since creating the groundbreaking InvestEGGator decoy sea turtle eggs, the team at Paso Pacifico has been hard at work perfecting this tool that could be a gamechanger in the fight to protect sea turtles. Their efforts are not going unnoticed.

Paso Pacifico was named a Prize Winner in USAID’s Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge in January of 2016. After showing encouraging signs of progress developing and implementing the InvestEGGator decoy eggs, USAID then awarded the Ventura-based nonprofit organization an Acceleration Prize in September of last year to continue improving the production and distribution process for their wildlife crime solution.

It was also announced in December of 2017 that Paso Pacifico was one of 111 organizations across 34 countries selected to receive a grant from the National Geographic Society.

In addition to their recent accolades, Paso Pacifico has also been attracting major media attention from some internationally-recognized companies and personalities.

In January, wildlife conservationist and biologist Jeff Corwin joined the Paso Pacifico team as they monitored the activity of hawksbill turtles in Nicaragua. Corwin’s crew filmed the excursion for a future episode of his nature show Ocean Treks.

“It is critical that we spread the word about our mission and our conservation programs, both internationally and here on the Central Coast,” said Pacifico Founder and Executive Director, and Ashoka Fellow, Sarah Otterstrom. “Our goal is to build on this momentum to create a strong support network that will enable us to continue finding new and innovative ways to protect and restore our environment.”

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