Ivan the Loving Logger


Ivan the loving logger

“Over there…OMG it’s a huge logger…wait, there are two loggers!” I yelled out to my teammates as we hauled ourselves into our boat from the calm seas, after looking for over two hours for loggerhead turtles. In fact, we were keen to find any other type of turtle that would lend itself to capture for our in-water study of turtle behavior at Belize’s Lighthouse Reef Atoll. Everyone followed my pointed finger to see, 75 m away, not one but two loggerheads on the surface, locked in a happy embrace (well maybe happy for the male on top, less so for the female whose head kept getting pushed underwater).

There was no hesitation from Ivan Torres, a traditional fisher from Belize’s northern fishing community of Sarteneja. He grabbed his fins, donned his round glass plated mask and with a huge smile and glint in his eye, slipped smoothly into the water. With the stealth of a jaguar, he swam out of the turtle’s view and popped up behind the amorous couple, rapidly grabbing the top and bottom of the male loggerhead’s carapace (shell) and angling it towards the surface to stymie any attempts to swim downwards. The single-handed capture was unbelievable.

We didn’t quite realize how special it was until we saw the size of the animal as we angled our boat next to Ivan and the turtle, which by the way seemed none too happy that he had been caught in flagrante. We carefully lifted the hefty chelonian gentleman into the boat and prepared to take him back to Half Moon Caye for measuring and tagging before releasing him back at the site where he was caught.

We are specifically catching and tagging loggerhead turtles in-water, with a strong bias on male turtles. This will help us better understand the geographic preferences of this highly threatened species in relation to protected areas, threats from poaching, boat traffic, pollution, and coastal development. Elucidating these questions for male turtles is particularly important, as once hatched and at sea, they do not return to beaches to nest. The majority of information held on turtle spatial ecology is focused on nesting females. Yet, as global temperatures rise, hotter nesting beaches are causing egg-bound turtle embryos to develop into females at a disproportionate rate, greatly skewing the ratio of females to males. We are therefore concerned that male turtles may soon become even more scarce and endangered than their female counterparts, limiting reproduction and the future survival of the species.

But back to our turtle. To keep the ginormous chelonian gentleman calm, we covered his eyes with a damp towel, and all took turns massaging his very broad and muscular neck – a handy trick I learned from a colleague working with loggers in the Gulf of Mexico. It took six of us to move him from the boat to a quiet, shady spot on the caye’s sandy shore. His weight very likely surpassed 325 pounds. To keep him safe, we created a wooden slat corral around him to minimize movement and treated him to a full turtle spa treatment with cool water poured over him, continued eye covering and massaging while we measured his curved carapace length. He remained quiet while we prepared the upper shell’s scutes for the placement of a satellite tag.

This was very likely the first time he had been ashore since he left the nest as a hatchling. And based on his carapace length, we estimated him to be over 70 years old. When he was born, Winston Churchill and Truman were in power, the Korean War was raging, Belize was still a British colony (British Honduras). A little sanding cleaned off the algae to leave the beautiful, variegated shell dry and ready for the two-part epoxy that would hold the tag that would hopefully transmit his location for over two years, every time he came to the surface to breathe (about every 20-30 minutes or so).

After a period of curing, the epoxy holding the tag was cured and we were ready to apply an alphanumeric tag to each flipper. Two are placed on the posterior edge of each flipper in case one is lost, and all numbers are added to a central database for tagged turtles run by the Belize National Turtle Working Group, integrating a range of non-profits including MarAlliance and government institutions. If a turtle is recaptured, the tag(s) is read, the turtle is remeasured to check growth, and the distance moved from the original tagging point is assessed.

Taking our large logger back to his original site of capture for release was a smooth affair. With the help of 4-5 people inside the boat, we gently lifted him over the side of the boat, being careful to avoid the large claws on the flippers that help him to grab on to female turtles while mating. As he slipped into the water, he swam away with his new satellite transmitting bling on his back to tell us what waters he prefers over the next two years. We all decided it was most fitting to name him Ivan, which made Ivan beam with pride, knowing that he both supported cutting-edge science and could now track “his” turtle for the coming months.

As we work to create a tracking page on our website, stay tuned to social media to see where Ivan goes over the coming months. You’ll be able to see our data in real-time as we find out whether the tracks of in-water captured male turtles differ considerably from those of females and whether their movements place them at risk from additional threats from poaching, boat traffic, or development.

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Asistente de comunicación (Internship)

MarAlliance es una organización internacional sin ánimo de lucro registrada en EE.UU., Belice, Panamá y Cabo Verde, cuyo objetivo es explorar, facilitar e inspirar cambios positivos para la fauna marina amenazada, especialmente tiburones y rayas, sus hábitats críticos y las comunidades humanas dependientes. Nuestra misión es amplia y ambiciosa, y trabajamos en tres idiomas y en siete países de tres regiones. Ante el declive de muchas poblaciones de megafauna marina, estas especies necesitan una voz fuerte, eficaz y con base científica que las represente para ayudar a los socios dependientes a dar forma a las estrategias y acciones de gestión y conservación para invertir el declive.

Resumen del puesto:

Buscamos a un becario (6 meses) proactivo, con conocimientos digitales y excelente capacidad de redacción y edición de textos, que apoye la creación de contenidos escritos de alta calidad y recursos multicanal para difundir el trabajo que MarAlliance realiza a través de sus plataformas en línea (sitio web, redes sociales, boletín, entre otras) y fuera de línea, y que interactúe con nuestro público externo para contribuir a nuestros objetivos generales de comunicación y marketing. El Asistente de Comunicación dependerá directamente del Coordinador de Comunicación y Marketing, y trabajará en estrecha colaboración con el resto del equipo para apoyarles en los elementos de comunicación de su trabajo.

Las funciones y responsabilidades incluirán, entre otras, las siguientes:

  1. Proporcionar apoyo creativo, editorial y operativo a los proyectos. 
  2. Apoyo en la organización, etiquetado y etiquetado del archivo fotográfico y gestión del archivo de vídeo.
  3. Gestión de la comunidad: Gestionar activamente los canales de medios sociales, así como identificar nuevas tendencias y oportunidades de colaboración. Generar reels y visuales.
  4. Apoyo en la redacción de artículos de blog (SEO) y contenido de boletines. 
  5. Ayudar a construir y desarrollar materiales, herramientas y acciones para campañas (online y offline).
  6. Ayudar en diferentes tareas relacionadas con la comunicación trabajando mano a mano con contratistas externos (desarrollador web, diseñador gráfico…) para mejorar el compromiso de las audiencias externas.
  7. Apoyo en la elaboración de informes de campañas y comunicaciones (Google Analytics, métricas de redes sociales, informes de marketing por correo electrónico).
  8. Como parte del Equipo de Comunicación de MarAlliance, apoyar al Coordinador de Comunicación y Marketing en cualquier otro proyecto de comunicación, coherente con las habilidades y experiencia del titular del puesto, en circunstancias no rutinarias.

Experiencia, conocimientos y aptitudes requeridos:

  1. Licenciatura en comunicación, periodismo, marketing o cualquier disciplina relacionada.
  2. Experiencia en comunicación digital o marketing.
  3. Pasión e interés por la naturaleza, la vida marina y la conservación.
  4. Capacidad demostrada para redactar y presentar comunicaciones creativas.
  5. Presencia y conocimientos de medios sociales y digitales.
  6. Capacidad para realizar múltiples tareas y detectar buenas historias.
  7. Capacidad para trabajar a distancia y cumplir los plazos establecidos.
  8. Conocimientos de diseño gráfico deseables, pero no necesarios.
  9. Conocimientos de edición de vídeo deseables pero no necesarios. 

Salario y prestaciones:

Estipendio durante 6 meses.


Español, con fluidez en inglés


Nacionales o residentes de Panamá, Belice, México, Honduras, Guatemala.

Este contrato será a distancia dentro de las zonas horarias de América, flexible, a tiempo completo y desde casa con hasta un 10% de viajes ocasionales locales e internacionales.

Cómo presentar la candidatura:

Por favor, envíe su currículum, portfolio si lo tiene, y carta de presentación a info@maralliance.org con “MAR-CA_Apellido” en el asunto antes del 21 de marzo, 2024. No se admiten llamadas.

Communications Assistant (Internship)

MarAlliance is an international non-profit registered in the US, Belize, Panama and Cabo Verde that aims to explore, enable and inspire positive changes for threatened marine wildlife – notably sharks and rays – their critical habitats and dependent human communities. Our remit is broad and ambitious, and we work in three languages and across seven countries encompassed by three regions. In the face of declines in many populations of marine megafauna, these species need a strong, effective, and science-based voice to represent them to help dependent partners shape management and conservation strategies and action to reverse declines.

Position summary:

We are seeking for a proactive, digitally savvy Paid Intern (6 month) Communications Assistant with excellent writing and copy editing skills, who will support the creation of high-quality written content and multichannel assets to broadcast the work MarAlliance does through its online (website, social media, newsletter, among others) and offline platforms, and engage with our external audiences to contribute to our overall communications and marketing goals. The Communications Assistant will directly report consistently to the Communications and Marketing Coordinator, and work closely with the rest of the team to support them on the communications elements of their work.

Duties and responsibilities will include but are not limited to:

  1. Provide creative, editorial, and operational project support. 
  2. Support organizing, labeling and tagging the photo archive and video archive management.
  3. Community Management: Actively manage social media channels, as well as identify new trends and collaboration opportunities. Generate reels and visuals.
  4. Support with writing blog articles (SEO) and newsletter content. 
  5. Help build and develop materials, toolkits, and actions for (online and offline) campaigns.
  6. Assist in different communications-related tasks working hand in hand with external contractors (web developer, graphic designer…) to improve the engagement of external audiences.
  7. Support in campaign and communications reporting (Google Analytics, social media metrics, email marketing reports)
  8. As part of the MarAlliance Communications Team, support the Communications and Marketing Coordinator with any other communications projects, consistent with the skills and expertise of the post holder, in non-routine circumstances.

Experience, Knowledge, and Skills Required:

  1. Bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, marketing or any related discipline.
  2. Experience working in digital communications and or marketing.
  3. Passion and interest for nature, marine life and conservation.
  4. Proven ability to write and deliver creative communications.
  5. Social Media and digital presence and knowledge.
  6. Ability to multitask and spot good stories.
  7. Capable of working remotely and meeting established deadlines.
  8. Graphic design skills are desirable but not required.
  9. Video editing skills are desirable but not required.

Salary and benefits:

Stipend for 6 month.


English, Spanish are mandatory.


Panama, Belize, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala nationals or residents. 

This contract will be remote within the Americas time zones, flexible, full-time and home-based with up to 10% occasional local and international travel.

How to apply:

Please send your resume, portfolio if you have one, and cover letter to info@maralliance.org with “MAR-CA_Last name” in the subject line by 21st of March, 2024. No calls please.