flespi helps prevent turtle extinction in Mexico

4 February, 2022
Alena Kuptsova

The olive ridley sea turtles, also named the Golfina turtles, once considered the most abundant in the ocean, today have become a vulnerable species. Their eggs are taken away, nesting females are killed for their meat and skin, and many of them drown in fishing nets. The global population of Golfina turtles may come to the brink of extinction in ten years’ time unless actions are taken to protect their newborns.

The winner of IoT project of the year 2021 in the Stationary objects nomination offered a telematics solution that gives hope for the endangered species.

Turtles in trouble

The Mexican government organization SEDESU (Secretaria de Desarrollo sustentable del estado de Sinaloa), a client of the Wialon partner CTTMX, works to promote the sustainable development of society. One of its projects deals with helping Golfina sea turtles to reproduce successfully to ensure their survival. Due to the tight funding and limited access to technology, the conditions inside the turtle nest incubators were not controlled properly. This made it nearly impossible for the sea turtles to hatch.

In this project, the client faced specific challenges:

  • The scientists couldn’t control the temperature inside incubators while it is the most important factor affecting turtle egg development. A certain temperature is required for the eggs to hatch. Without the real-time temperature control, embryos were dying. Besides, most turtles are subject to temperature-dependent sex determination. It is the temperature of the developing eggs that affects whether a little turtle will be male or female, and scientists wanted to control this, too.

  • The scientists also couldn’t control the humidity in incubators. The right humidity is another factor ensuring proper development of the embryos. It affects the endurance of the newborns making them strong enough to survive in the water and fight predators.

turtle sanctuary

Turtle incubators in a sanctuary

Hatching a solution

The specialists at CTTMX offered a complex solution to address all the customer’s challenges. In fact, they developed an entire real-time monitoring system that processes all the information from the sensors and other devices installed in the incubators and presents it in a convenient form with the help of user-friendly dashboards. Different groups of users, from incubator inspectors to researchers and maintenance workers, got their own web interfaces developed by the partner.


A sanctuary dashboard showing real-time data on the parameters monitored

The partner used a wide variety of hardware to collect comprehensive data:

All the devices were chosen with extreme climate conditions in mind as they had to withstand high temperatures, humidity, and salty air.

monitoring hardware

CalAmp asset tracker and Steren rechargeable battery

The incoming data from all the trackers and sensors is sent to flespi that functions as a broker and makes it possible to collect information from various types of hardware simultaneously in a single cloud database. Then the statistics are forwarded through flespi streams and finally shown in a user-friendly way on dashboards or in smartphone apps. With the resulting monitoring module, users can visualize and control all the events inside the incubation nests, generate reports, and extract data depending on their access rights.

data registration module

The principal monitoring module collecting data from all the devices in the incubation center

Initially, the monitoring system for turtle hatching included 18 units. But what is so prominent about this solution is that it is scalable, which means it can be replicated in every incubator around the world.

Implementation: step by step towards success

The project was implemented in five phases over 6 months.

  • During the first development phase, CTTMX delved into the problem and examined the customer’s requirements.
  • At the second stage, they started planning a possible solution. The partner’s specialists analyzed different technologies and determined how to connect them.
  • Then two installation phases followed. The customer and the incubation site staff volunteered during the implementation. By giving all the required information about the conditions and weather, they helped reduce installation time.
  • At the final production phase, the solution was put into operation.

Just like many other cases presented for IoT project of the year, the turtle monitoring solution was implemented during the pandemic. This added some challenges, such as delays in the completion schedule, but did not disrupt the project.

Technical support

To facilitate the use of the monitoring system, CTTMX organized all-encompassing technical support, including on-site hardware checks and validations, and development of new features for the dashboard. In addition to the documentation provided by the partner, the customer could get training or call a 24/7 help center.

Proper control yields good results

With the implementation of the solution, CTTMX helped increase the number of newborn turtles in the 2020-2021 season, and gave a powerful tool to the scientists for running statistical simulation and predicting the reproduction in the next season. By monitoring and regulating temperature and humidity, the staff of the incubating site now can control the female to male newborn ratio, which improves the chances of the turtles to breed for years to come and prevents their extinction.

sedesu turtle newborns

CTTMX’s solution helped improve reproduction of Golfina turtles in 2021 in Sinaloa and provided valuable scientific evidence for further steps. Photo by SEDESU

Ultimate rescue plan

The partner plans to deploy the solution in all the turtle encampments across the country. As for its feature set, the CTTMX specialists want to add an option of tracking where newborn turtles go after being released into the ocean. It will help discover the places where they are being depredated or hunted and ensure their survival.

Client testimonial

“The project has been an effective solution allowing us to get information that we were unable to obtain remotely. Also, we can keep track day by day how natural weather is affecting the embryos.” 

IoT project of the year is a global telematics and IoT project competition uniting telematics and IoT companies from various industries. This year, the competition accumulated hundreds of innovative hardware and software solutions that effectively resolved problems and created new opportunities for the users. Visit our use cases library to learn more about the participating projects or just to find an idea that will boost your customer’s business.

Alena Kuptsova
Alena Kuptsova
Alena is a copywriter at Gurtam who creates clear, instructive content of various formats. She writes articles, overviews, and use cases along with contributing to printed and web marketing materials to make experience with Gurtam’s products easy and beneficial for the Wialon community.


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