About the Program
Our program is dedicated to protecting these species. We achieve this goal by integrating conservation, research, and education.
Many factors contribute to sea turtle population declines including pollution, poaching, urban development and climate change. These factors are responsible for the loss of nesting grounds or low hatchling survival rate leading sea turtles to the brink of extinction. Volunteers are key stakeholders to evaluate, monitor, preserve, and conserve sea turtles and their nesting grounds; helping sea turtles first hand in the Osa.
We monitor and protect nesting turtles on 6 km of beach on the islands in which we gather information about the nesting activity, predation rates and hatchling success of the three species of turtles that nest on this beach.
Our presence deters poachers from stealing eggs.
We give presentations and courses to different members of the community and groups about sea turtle conservation.
The dynamics of the local sea turtle populations are poorly understood, and while some information on females has been gathered from nesting beaches, little is known about population structure, genetic origin, and habitat use. Sea turtles spend only 1% of their lives on the nesting beaches and due to this behavioral pattern, mainly only adult females are studied. Very little information is available about juvenile populations and sex ratios of adult populations. Currently there is no information on this part of Costa Rica in regards to Sea Turtles. Therefore, more monitoring work is needed to increase knowledge about habitats used by sea turtles in different life stages in order to assess the types of threats they are exposed to.
Sea turtles are important to wildlife in the area as they contribute to the overall health of the ocean. They help maintain coral reefs, clean the ocean floors and help control populations of jellyfish and other crustaceans. They are also an important part of the food chain, as they provide food sources for larger fish, like sharks and the babies provide food sources for smaller fish in the estuary. The shells from the turtle eggs contribute to give the beach nutrients which keep the life cycles active on the beach as well.
We work mainly with the Eretmochelys imbricat commonly known as Caray Sea Turtle and Lepidochelys olivacea commonly known as Olive Ridley Both species are listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, which means if we don’t take serious measures, it is very likely that they will become extinct.
We work at a remote island for our conservation work which provides an ideal habitat for nesting turtles as it is surrounded by the salty sea water and the fresh river water. The island provides a perfect remote environment and safe nesting area, at both low and high tide, for the nesting turtles. Nesting has now started as of mid-July, and will happen until the first week of December.
We rely heavily on volunteer help. For that reason, every helping hand is welcome!
How can you help?
During these patrols, you will:
Take biometric measurements of eggs, nests, turtles, etc. depending the investigation
Record data on turtle tracks and nest location
Perform nest excavations when needed and relocate vulnerable nests to our hatchery or safer sectors on the beach depending the time of year and investigation
Evaluate hatching success rates.
Monitor nesting sites for hatchlings and predators.
Carry out nest protection techniques and assessment of potential risk factors.
Mark and nest protection with bamboo net, method to stop predation by dogs to nest
After patrols, you will:
Enter and check data on our database.*
Ensure equipment is cleaned and ready for the next patrol.
Other tasks include:
Training patrol leaders for a partner organization.
Giving presentations to various groups and local schools, as well as the eco-tourists.