The Corcovado Foundation Sea Turtle Conservation Program has never been busier. After six years without a place to permanently call home, in July 2012 volunteers and local staff were gifted a beautiful new camp in the village of El Progreso in Drake Bay – a blank canvass ready to be converted into vibrant base for the program, a home for the coordinators, and a hive of conservation activities. This was only made possible by generous donations made by local businesses, not-for-profit institutions from around the world, and concerned individuals like yourselves.
Throughout July and August, in addition to preparing the beach and building the field station for the 2012 nesting season, international volunteers worked around the clock constructing furniture, painting and decorating, planting trees and food, and organizing the logistics of the camp in order to bring online all of the new facilities and infrastructure. The camp, which used to be an old farm house, was refurbished and now features a dorm with a capacity of 12, bathrooms and showers, a kitchen, store room and bike station, and a multi-use rancho area equipped with a table, projector screen, book exchange and hammocks. Volunteers have also constructed a volleyball court, a scenic river trail, a community recycling station, and a hydroponic vegetable patch and composter.
On the beaches international volunteers have worked alongside members of the community association (ACOTPRO) to clean both Drake Beach and Ganado Beach (a beautiful wilderness sadly contaminated by thousands of plastic bottles washed up from the Pacific Ocean), and to prepare the hatchery and vigilance tower ready for the 2012 nesting season. The latter structure, known as the ‘chante’, was once again found to be heavily vandalized at the beginning of the season but was completely restored to a standard even higher than in previous seasons, thanks to a generous donation awarded to the program by Humane Society International. This grant also paid for new bikes in order for patrol teams to reach the beach, and new patrol equipment and dataloggers (digital thermometers) to monitor the temperature of nests on the beach and in the hatchery.
All of those involved in the program were rewarded with what has been the best season for turtle nesting since the program began. Despite a quiet start in July, the season suddenly burst into life and has since witnessed the most nests ever registered by the program in the month of August.
Unfortunately 2012 has also witnessed a big increase in the incidence of poaching, with local poachers being spotted on Drake Beach every night. Around 10% of nests have been lost so far this year to poachers, and the game of cat and mouse continues. From the beginning of September the program moves into a vulnerable period with the lowest number of international volunteers available and the greatest number of turtles nesting on the beaches. In order to deploy patrol teams onto the beaches every night and relocate turtle nests to the hatchery, the budget for local salaries is being drastically over-stretched. The cost to deploy the minimum number of local Patrol Leaders required for one night is $110. The program needs private donations more than ever at this moment to sustain this level of spending and maintain the struggle against illegal poaching.
Please dig deep and give whatever you can to the program this September, and help us to permit the survival of this endangered species in Drake Bay for future generations to enjoy.
The turtles thank you for your wonderful generosity!
Text GIVE 7861 to 80088 to donate $10 to Seaturtle Conservation and Environmental Education. Message and data rates may apply. Only works for US mobile phones.
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