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Volunteer for Turtle Conservation, Stay on One of Costa Rica’s Most Beautiful Beaches May 6, 2009

Posted by ecointeractive in Adventure, Conservation, Eco Travel.
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Click Here For More information about the Marine Turtle Project at Playa el Rey

This is your opportunity to participate in a critical conservation and research effort, and at the same time live on one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful, pristine and least visited beaches. The sea turtle monitoring and conservation season at this site runs from June through December. Participants are invited to stay from 1 to 7 months.  You will have the opportunity to work with trained professional biologists, wildlife conservationists and environmental professionals, as well as personnel from the Costa Rican Environment Ministry. You will also have the chance to spend time with local people, through our education programs, and local students who also come to volunteer with the project. You will take part in our research efforts and all their activities. This includes beach cleaning, night watch patrols, searching the beach for turtle eggs (mostly at night), taking scientific data, learning about sea turtle habits and population, taking care of the nesting area, construction activities, environmental education activities and the liberation of hatchlings. You will live in rustic, comfortable conditions, far away from any human presence. You will be provided with three home cooked Tico meals each, and will also have time to enjoy your surroundings. Laying in a hammock, looking out over the pacific ocean, reading, playing soccer on the beach and searching for local fauna are all encouraged during your free time.

You will also be a short drive away from the beautiful Manuel Antonio National Park, one of Costa Rica’s premier destinations where you will find the diversity of restaurants, bars and nightlife. Regular trips “back to civilization” will be planned for those volunteers who want to grab a beer, go out dancing or use the internet. Those trying to escape civilization are welcome to stay at the beach as long they want.

Our project runs from June through January of each year, and you are welcome to join us for as long as you’d like, anywhere from just a few days to several months.

Schools and educational travel groups are also welcome to visit through specially designed visits.

Click Here For More information about the Marine Turtle Project at Playa el Rey

Click Here to Apply

Record birthrate of leatherback turtles in Costa Rica. September 29, 2008

Posted by ecointeractive in Conservation, Wildlife.
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SAN JOSE (AFP) — Nearly 900 endangered leatherback turtles were born at the Junquillal beach on Costa Rica’s Pacific coastline in recent months thanks to community workers that scare off poachers and protect the eggs, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature said Thursday.

The leatherbacks are giant migratory turtles that swim great distances to nesting spots in the tropics. Their main nesting area in Central America is Playa Grande, also in Costa Rica, which is a protected zone.

Junquillal is an important leatherback nesting area but it is not formally protected.

However during this nesting season Junquillal “has probably become the second most important beach for leatherback turtles to nest in Central America, due to not only the number of nests but also the success in the number of birth of young turtles,” said Gabriel Francia, who coordinates the WWF’s Pacific leatherback turtle conservation project.

Taking much of the credit are six young area residents that patrol the nearly six-kilometer (four mile) long stretch of beach each night looking for leatherbacks that have come ashore to lay eggs.

Team members will take note of the time the turtles crawl out of the ocean as well as the weather conditions and the tide. The team members then take the eggs from the beach nest after the mother turtle has returned to the ocean and move them to a secured hatchery.

The leatherback turtle (dermochelys coriacea) measures nearly two meters (6.5 feet) long and can weigh up to 650 kilos (1,430 pounds), making it the largest turtle species in the world.

Saving Endangered Sea Turtles in Costa Rica February 8, 2008

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ScienceDaily (Jan. 30, 2008) — Two leading environmental organizations, Earthwatch Institute and Ocean Conservancy, have partnered on the SEE Turtles project to promote conservation of the world’s endangered sea turtle populations. As all seven of the planet’s species are under threat, the goal of the project is to demonstrate how public involvement in turtle conservation can have a bigger economic impact on local communities than traditional hunting.


SEE Turtles formally launches at the 28th Annual Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation Symposium, held by the International Sea Turtle Society, in Loreto, Baja California Sur, Mexico, from January 19 to 26. Like the SEE Turtles campaign itself, many of this year’s Symposium offerings will demonstrate both the environmental and economic benefits of turtle conservation.

Sea turtles—marine reptiles whose forms and lifecycles have been virtually unchanged for millions of years—are under threat from many angles, including increased human development that destroys coastal nesting habitats, ocean pollution, indiscriminate fishing practices, and hunting. As a result, some turtle populations have seen up to a 90% decline in recent decades. In response, the SEE Turtles project will work to bring together concerned members of the public with local communities as a way to underscore the economic value of conservation. Recent studies by the World Wildlife Fund suggest that turtle-based conservation experiences have the potential to bring in more than three times the income of egg poaching.

Both Earthwatch and Ocean Conservancy have already shown the proof of the concept in popular destinations ranging from Baja to the Northwest coast of Coast Rica and the Caribbean isles of Trinidad and Tobago. These areas have well-established, ongoing sea-turtle studies in which volunteers can participate and help impact significant victories for the turtles.

Perhaps nowhere has success been more evident than on the Parque Nacional Las Baulas beaches of Costa Rica. When Dr. Frank Paladino of Indiana-Purdue University and Dr. James Spotila of Drexel University first arrived there in 1988 to study the leatherback sea turtles, they had to “rent” a territory from the local egg-poachers. That year, only a single leatherback hatchling made it to the sea. Years later, former poachers have become employed as proud and capable national park guards and guides, and virtually the entire community is invested in its leatherbacks.

“Local attitudes and awareness have improved immensely since we began working in Costa Rica,” said Dr. Richard Reina of Monash University, another principal investigator of Costa Rican Sea Turtles. “Our education program in local schools has fostered an understanding of and appreciation for natural resources in the children. Local people now appreciate that long-term survival and sustainability of natural resources including turtles is far more desirable than the short-term exploitation without constraint.”

Turtle Nesting in Costa Rica January 29, 2008

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It is still possible to observe both the leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) and the black turtle (Chelonia mydas) nesting at Playa Grande and Playa Caletas, on the Pacific coast. November is also the last month to observe the hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) on the Caribbean coast. The hawksbill is in danger of extinction because its beautiful shell is harvested and used to make elaborate rings, combs and earrings, among others trinkets.

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