Bringing Black Turtles Back from the Brink With Photography


Photo via Neil Ever Osborne

Have you heard of the black sea turtle? Odds are you haven't. Species like loggerhead, leatherback and hawksbill tend to dominate conservation news headlines. However, the black sea turtle (a morph of the green turtle) nearly disappeared from the planet, and still teeters precariously toward extinction. A special project aims to shed light on not only the plight of this species, but the amazing story about how it has made a recovery thanks to the hope-beyond-hope efforts of a handful of people.

Photographer Neil Osborne has partnered up with Dr. Wallace "J." Nichols in an engaging project to document the story of the black turtle. They're utilizing Emphas.is, a fundraising site designed with a similar platform to Kickstarter, but specifically for photography projects. Through their Emphas.is campaign, they're hoping to raise just over $11,000 for their project.

The story is uplifting, a rarity in today's conservation efforts for saving species, and shows what can happen when people devote themselves to a cause, even if it seems lost and useless.

Return of the Black Turtle will be a conservation photography expedition that proves the power of a symbiotic relationship between biology and art, science and storytelling. It will be a narrative rooted in scientific exploration, animated by the colorful characters of the Mexican coastline. It will be told through the personal anecdotes that connect cultural tradition and folklore, corrupt officials and poor fishermen, unmitigated pollution and against-the-odds survival.

With the support of Emphas.is backers, J. and I will document the impressive progress that Grupo Tortuguero has made toward saving the Black Turtle. In addition to sharing this important success story in our behind-the-scenes Emphas.is access area, we will pitch it to editorial publications and use it to target specific audiences whose influence could assist in fundraising and legislation that will ease continuing dangers for Black Turtles and ensure that their recovery continues. We will also continue to publicize our journey long after the images have been made, through interviews, lectures, podcasts, and in the development of a website.


If you're interested in donating to the project -- and toward an inspiring, uplifting story -- you can check out the Emphas.is page.

Learn more about conservation photography with this short documentary video.

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Tags: Animals | Conservation | Oceans | Turtles