2005 Whitley Award winner Didiher Chacon has won the 2013 WFN/WWF Challenge Grant, worth £20,000 in project funding. The grant will help Didiher and his colleagues at WIDECAST’s Latin American Sea Turtle Association boost their sea turtle conservation work along Costa Rica’s South Pacific coast, an area of vital habitat for highly threatened hawksbill and green turtles. A key aim of the Challenge Grant is to strengthen links between grassroots Whitley Award winners and local WWF-offices and, this project will also see Didiher team up with fellow Whitley Alumni, Diego Amorocho, who is now Species Program Coordinator of WWF’s Latin America and the Caribbean Program. Diego and WWF will work alongside WIDECAST to investigate connectivity of local sea turtle populations with other populations in the Eastern Tropical Pacific, guiding regional conservation management over a large area and strengthening protection of migratory turtles.

Jairo Mora Sandoval 1987 – 2013

On May 31st 2013, Jairo Mora Sandoval – a colleague of Didiher’s – was murdered by poachers whilst leading a patrol to protect an important sea turtle nesting beach in Costa Rica’s Limon Province. In the wake of Jairo’s tragic death, WIDECAST have been forced to suspend all beach patrolling activities in the region. However, local and international outrage following the incident has led to strong calls for the Costa Rican government to do more to fight wildlife crime whilst bringing Jairo’s killers to justice.