Sea turtle conservation in Costa Rica
Sea life is in constant danger to mankind who destroys their habitat, pollutes the oceans, and hunts them relentlessly. Luckily the turtle conservation program in Costa Rica aims to change the reality of marine wildlife through education, controlled incubations in hatcheries, and initiatives to slow down hunting, habitat loss, and pollution.
By becoming a volunteer in the turtle conservation program Costa Rica, you are joining a team that works hard day and night to help raise the number of sea turtles. In the project, you will be working with one or various species of sea turtles including olive ridley turtles, loggerhead sea turtles, green turtles, hawksbill, and leatherback turtles. Each turtle is endangered to a different degree and is handled differently according to their numbers and habits.
Common sea turtles in Costa Rica:
Olive Ridley: This is the most prevalent species of sea turtle found in Costa Rica. These turtles are not small by any means, with an average weight hovering around 95 pounds. They have a unique nesting behavior that is tied to specific moon cycles. During these periods, they travel in small, closely-knit groups to the sandy beaches of Costa Rica. Here, they engage in the process of laying their eggs, with each turtle capable of laying anywhere from 50 to 100 eggs in a single nesting session.
Hawksbill: This is a critically endangered species of turtle, the Hawksbill, which has been relentlessly pursued and hunted to the brink of extinction, primarily because of its vibrant and colorful shell. When it comes to nesting, these turtles are quite prolific, typically laying around 120 eggs in a single nesting period.
Leatherback turtles: These are the undisputed giants of the sea turtle world. Leatherbacks can tip the scales at a staggering thousand pounds. They are known to nest in both the Pacific and Caribbean beaches, demonstrating a wide geographical range. In terms of reproduction, they lay around 70 eggs per nest, a relatively modest number compared to some other species.
Other sea turtles found in Costa Rica:
Green Turtles: These turtles are a remarkable species that typically weigh around 250 pounds and are known to nest on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. However, it’s noted that the program in question does not typically engage with this species. This could be due to various reasons such as their specific habitat requirements, conservation status, or other factors. If you need more information about Green Turtles or the reasons why the program does not usually work with them, feel free to ask.
Loggerhead turtles: These sea turtles are also endangered due to poaching of their nests and their hunting. They nest in the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, lay around 125 eggs per nest, and can weigh up to 350 pounds.
As a volunteer you will be helping with nest patrolling, egg relocation to safe hatcheries or other nesting sites(to deter poaching), helping monitor and clean hatcheries, maintenance work in the hatcheries, and release of baby turtles make it to the ocean.
Besides working with the turtles, you will be working on educational campaigns to create awareness regarding marine wildlife conservation.
Work is 4 or 5 days per week with 2 or 3 days free per week. Times vary depending on the shift you are assigned to on your first day.
Minimum commitment: 2 weeks
Location: Quepos and Nicoya peninsula
Accommodation: Volunteer Guesthouse.2 meals per day included
Availability: Year-round, although turtle Season is from July to February. During the non-turtle season, work is focused on education, maintenance, and habitat conservation.
Requirements: Attract an extra fee of $ 120 per week.