Biologist Beth and team attending a turtle patient
A huge thank you once again to everyone who supported our project in 2015/16. All of the money raised through our Global Giving campaign was put directly into supporting sea turtle rescue and conservation. 159 donors took part in our cause and gave their hard earned money for endangered species. Finally, we have reached our fundraising goal and could close this campaign successfully.
How Global Giving has made a difference
Since start in September of 2015, our rescue center has been upgraded, as donations have helped to purchase essential supplies and equipment for sea turtle medical treatment. Currently, our logistics manager David is coordinating the necessary repairs of the center’s structure! Furthermore, funds could be raised for urgently needed boat and marine net repairs (ropes, buoyes, sinkers) and main conservation activities that are linked with the rescue center and habitat/population studies in the Dulce Gulf. A transport emergency fund could be created, if turtles needed to be relocated to the Marine Park in Puntarenas for more in depth treatment, as it was the case early 2014 when we had problems to finance transporting a green turtle with major trauma. Very importantly, our rescue center in Osa has served as a training and capacity building platform for volunteers, young veterinarian students and national and international conservationists and scientists.
Donor’s impact on sea turtles, research and conservation: During the last 3 months, our staff attended 10 hawksbill turtles with Stephanolepas parasite at the center. All were released after parasites had been successfully removed. Essential medicine like antibiotics, vitamins, glucose, eye oink and supplies like syringes, gloves, disinfectant etc. are now available for any cases that will show up. Longer term sea turtle patients can be kept in a tank more easily now using a filter system to circulate the water, as changing the water has been always hard as the ocean is 500 m away from the center. Light traumas and injuries can be treated immediately now which increases the chance of survival enormously as it allows our staff to act in the moment. During the whole time of the campaign, our conservation project hosted and trained 12 international research assistants, 378 volunteers from all over the world and 14 scientists and conservationists from Latin America. 39 green turtles, 3 with a missing front flipper and 46 hawksbill turtles have been captured and tagged. The in-water monitoring showed a higher presence of the critically endangered hawksbill turtle in the Golfo Dulce than in the years before. This shows that this species is loyal to its feeding and developing ground and that local conservation efforts may have resulted positively. Research is key to improve protection strategies, and latest results from the hawksbill study in 2015 with 50 individuals have generated an important data base. Based on that data, we can compare chemical blood patterns in national wild turtles with those of turtles in captivity, and improve their health status and develop an adequate diet, thus enhance the chances of survival. Global Giving supported the blood work and veterinary costs. Six local homestay families are taking part in our program by providing homestays for our volunteers. The positive impact on conservation goes far beyond our project at Playa Blanca. The rescue center helps to create awareness about endangered species and the environmental challenges they face nowadays, volunteers and students take their experinces with them and hopefully have learned to act in a responsible way towards nature, networking with other cross-country NGOs helpes to multiply our conservation strategies - this all to have a long lasting positive influence on sea turtles and their habitat.
Future conservation challenges
LAST is not only active on the Pacific coast, also on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, where nesting turtles face a serious threat – illegal take and egg poaching. As this requires urgent attention, we have opened a new campaign on Global Giving to raise funds for the protection of 3 nesting sea turtle species at Pacuare beach, project # 24392.
We would greatly appreciate your consideration of supporting us in our efforts to increase sea turtle’s survival, either through volunteering, donations or by spreading the word and share the cause with others.
With our best wishes and much gratitude,
LAST Costa Rica
Rescue center after having released a patient
Donated turtle holder for a save transport
Staff with part of the donated supplies
A storage room full of medical supplies
Capturing a sea turtle for tagging