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Costa Rica’s Sea Turtle Population Threats

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Posted May 2017

Fewer places have experienced the decline in the Sea Turtle population as Costa Rica has. The beaches here are ideal for nesting Sea Turtles wading from the sea, up a gently sloping beach to soft, warm sand. Beachfronts serve as incubators for Pacific, Atlantic, and Caribbean Seas Sea Turtles.

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Ticos in Costa Rica have enjoyed the companionship of Sea Turtles for decades. Still, there is a well-established custom of eating the eggs of Sea Turtles. Human poachers are a common problem in all tropical and sub-tropical coastal regions globally.

For all their lives, Tico’s eat Sea Turtle eggs as a part of their daily diet. Conservation poses a challenge to this local custom; it is restricting a food source and depriving people of a source of income from the sale of eggs. Poverty is rampant, so it is difficult to cut off an income stream.

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Group discussions were held where the problems presented and discussed; then agreements were drafted. Solutions arose from the meetings and a workable plan was willingly implemented. Over time, those original plans were updated to include better methods and the good news is the Sea Turtle is winning. We will feature those details in Part 2 as you can be part of the solution.

Because Costa Rica is one of the worlds’ largest Sea Turtle nesting sites, it has attracted many visitors and students. Some are volunteers and work full-time in the recovery program. Others visit to experience the spectacle of their nesting and hatching, their donations help to fund the programs.

In the dark of the night the newly hatched Sea Turtles, take their first peek at the world through blurry eyes. They instinctively leave their shells and head for the ocean.

Costa Rica’s beaches glowing in the moonlight are romantic enough to entertain the most unsentimental amongst us. Children enjoy the experience and gain a clearer understanding of a part of the fragile environment affected by them.

Come to Costa Rica prepared to spend a night watching these magnificent creatures dig a nest and lay their clutch. You will see nesting females and emerging hatchings all on the same night. Eggs laid 60 days previously are now fully incubated and will start breaking open, releasing young hatchling to head into the water. It is a continuation of an already perilous journey.

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Part 2
Coming up...

  • The individual species and their peculiarities.
  • Threats to Turtles and Other Marine Species
  • Sea Turtle Conservation
  • The Conservationists
  • Counting Sea Turtles is Not Easy
  • New Ways of Counting
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