Sea Turtles in Costa Rica

Hatchling hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) await their passage into the sea, part of Cahuita National Park’s conservation initiative for this critically endangered species. These projects aim to protect a long stretch of coastline that serves as vital nesting grounds. Population monitoring and data collection of nest conditions, egg viability, and adult turtle mortality also aid in monitoring hawksbill populations. Nests that are deemed as being in high risk locations due to flooding or poaching are relocated, so turtles can develop unperturbed in man-made sand pits. Unfortunately, human encroachment on turtle habitat and poaching for turtle eggs remain as the largest threats to many species of sea turtles. While visiting leatherback sea turtle nesting sites in Moín with a few friends, it was an incredibly similar story. Because of hostile and very disheartening events in the preceding year, we were escorted by officers to observe females lay during the night. Even during our single night out, the police stopped to see off a child who was lurking around, very likely in hopes of poaching eggs for his family.

Photographed before and during controlled release by turtle conservationists [8]

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Below are a few videos I took when visiting two other conservation initiatives in Costa Rica: (1) releasing hatchling leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) at Moín & (2) the ‘Arribada‘ aggregation of olive ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) to lay eggs along the beaches of Ostional. Huge thanks to my friend, Andres, for giving me the opportunity to travel to all these places!

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