As thousands of endangered sea turtles begin to make their way to their nesting grounds on the coast of Nicaragua, the nation’s military has been dispatched to stand guard, helping to ensure their offspring are safe from poachers.

According to newspaper El Nuevo Diaro, more than 2,500 Olive Ridley turtles have already scampered onto beaches of the Chacocente Wildlife Refuge to lay eggs, one of only a handful of sites in the Western Pacific where the species nest each year.

Poaching of sea turtle eggs to be sold and eaten was once a rampant problem in poorer coastal villages in Nicaragua, threatening the species’ long-term survival. In recent years however, turtle numbers have been bolstered thanks to these added protections, and conservation groups, like Fauna & Flora International, which work to support and educate local communities about the importance of preserving the turtles arriving to their shores.