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This article was written on 29 Mar 2009, and is filled under To: Costa Rica.

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Leatherback Sea Turtles conservation in Costa Rica

Leatherback Sea Turtles conservation in Costa Rica

Leatherback sea turtles represent the largest member of the sea turtle family. Recently, the number of annually nesting females has been estimated between 26,000 to 43,000, a strong decline from the 115,000 estimated in 1980. This dramatic decline have contributed to conservation efforts to increase and stabilize the leatherback sea turtles population, as the specie has a current status of being critically endangered.


Leatherback hatchlings make a perilous journey from their nest to the ocean, and are not even safe once they make it. Few survive to adulthood.

Leatherback hatchlings make a perilous journey from their nest to the ocean, and are not even safe once they make it. Few survive to adulthood.

Costa Rica has a program to help save leatherback sea turtles from extinction, which start with creating safe nesting beach for females. It is possible for everybody to be part of that program. Here is what, as a volunteer, operations you may need to perform.

Throughout the program, volunteers monitor nesting leatherbacks, measure and tag them, note where the nest locations are and count the number of eggs in each nest. These data are used by researchers to determine what factors can influence the success of nesting.

Depending on the time of the year, eggs may have to be moved away from their nest to a hatchery. Volunteers may also have to protect the new hatched baby leatherback sea turtles, and potentially excavate nests to determine hatching success rates and rescue the late hatchers. Moreover, volunteers duties can also be to attach transmitters or data-loggers on adults, so their behavior and migration can be monitored or assist in maintaining the turtle hatchery.

Volunteering to help save leatherback sea turtles is not a 24 hours job. After your round of patrols on the beach, you can enjoy your time by a swim in the warm waters of Costa Rica, or by going for a snack at the beachfront restaurant. Plenty of activities are also available : sailboat cruise, a tour in the mangrove estuary, enjoying the beach and much more. Throughout your stay, you will probably come accross the numerous fascinating marine organisms. The adjacent areas is also rich in some of the most intriguing animal species and plants in the adjacent areas.

Leatherback sea turtles lay their eggs in nests on shore, where they are vulnerable to scavenging dogs and beach-strolling humans.

Leatherback sea turtles lay their eggs in nests on shore, where they are vulnerable to scavenging dogs and beach-strolling humans.

As a volunteer, you are most likely to stay at the beachfront field station, close to the beach. The cabin usually has air conditioning, full bathrooms, and you will be sharing your bedroom with other great volunteers or research staff. By volunteering in helping saving the leatherback sea turtles, you will meet lots of other great people, try something ultimately different, a unique rewarding experience of a lifetime.

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by: Kuy Tev for cheap all inclusive Caribbean vacation

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