Improve conditions for our sea turtle heroes

by Asociacion Latin American Sea Turtles - LAST
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Improve conditions for our sea turtle heroes
Improve conditions for our sea turtle heroes
Improve conditions for our sea turtle heroes
Improve conditions for our sea turtle heroes
Improve conditions for our sea turtle heroes
Improve conditions for our sea turtle heroes
Improve conditions for our sea turtle heroes
Improve conditions for our sea turtle heroes
Improve conditions for our sea turtle heroes
Improve conditions for our sea turtle heroes
Improve conditions for our sea turtle heroes
Improve conditions for our sea turtle heroes
Improve conditions for our sea turtle heroes
nests saved this year!
nests saved this year!

The nesting processes of sea turtles have been recorded in Costa Rica since the 1950´s , and before. The first project to work with sea turtles was the Caribbean Conservation Corporation , the CCC, located in Tortuguero, not very far from where LAST, with the support of  WIDECAST work in Pacuare.

For centuries,  people have being using and consuming a wide variety of sea turtles products . However the human population growth and thesubsequent  increase of the black market has put pressure upon the sea turtle populations along the Caribbean coast. 

 Due to this, many projects have decided to protect the populations of sea turtles in Costa Rica.  One of these projects is the Conservation Project of Sea Turtles in the North Pacuare beach run by Latin American Sea Turtles.

In this project, local community and international staff work together not only  to avoid the poaching of eggs, but also in the  non stop job of scientific research .  The more data we have the stronger our conclusions will be. Balancing society and science is fundamental within the objectives of the project. Local Assistants from the community work alongside international  Research Assistants in patrols, hatchery and other activities.

After COVID paralised the world in 2020, it has been a slow recovery.

We have been patrolling the beach since the 25 of February this year. Our patrols follow the protocols for the research information and the COVID protocol as well.  Thanks  to the hard work done by every patrol we have protected a total of 84 leatherback nests along the way, some of them have being relocated on the beach, while the majority were relocated on the hatchery.

The hatchery is home to 2969 eggs , those that have hatched, hatched with a success percentage of 80,5% which is a very good number, however we are still waiting for many nests to hatch still.

After 2020 , 2021 was a year to fix and rebuild many things, including our cabins which provide housing to our vital volunteers and research assistants. Thanks to the support, we changed the roofs of many cabins, as well, we have painted, changed walls, and with this we have improved the whole station. 

Within the many things we do here at the station one of our most important task is the social aspect. We have worked alongside the community and for the community. This year we havehelped local youths with their distance learning for school. We have also started English lessons for our local assistants.

The hard work that we do in Pacuare is complemented by the support we receive, conservation is always a shared task, and in that sense we have all managed to work together for a noble cause.

training staff and volunteers
training staff and volunteers
local community members involved in conservation
local community members involved in conservation
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freshly painted cabins!
freshly painted cabins!

We face this season with great enthusiasm but with hesitation, to advance in the conservation of sea turtles and their critical habitats,  in the midst of a difficult social and economic situation for the Costa Rican, and especially coastal,  society.

 GG's vital resources have allowed us to paint the station cabins; change the roofs damaged by sea salt;  fix the solar panel to power the project's electronic equipment (such as the microchip scanner for chips installed on the turtles). 

It has also allowed us to buy some kitchen equipment such as a new stove and cutlery for 30 people. These resources have also made it possible to repair the outboard motor starter and give our boat complete maintenance, with which we can not only go out to civilization to buy supplies but also to bring volunteers to support us.

Thanks to these resources we have been able to recruit 16 research assistants, employ a beach coordinator and plan so that at least during April we can have a workforce of about 20 volunteers. During February and March we have also been able to give a little help in food to some people in the community who have supported us with their volunteer work in the construction of the hatchery.

To date and since March 1, we have patrolled the beach and achieved the protection of more than 10 leatherback turtle nests, and it seems that due to this early number of nests,  we will be facing a good season thanks to YOUR support!

new roof being installed
new roof being installed

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the unfinished  cabins
the unfinished cabins

Amid numerous reports on social media of thriving wildlife populations due to the absence of quaranteening humans, we are actually seeing the complete opposite happen on our turtle nesting beach.

Latin America has been hit hard economically, unemployment levels are at a record high and there are still hundreds of thousands of people with "suspended" contracts or reduced contracts - and no financial support from the government. This has resulted in many families  struggling to make ends meet, and in turn people have resorted back to poaching eggs in order to feed their families.

 2020 has been a tremendously difficult year for many, and NGO´s are not the exception. There have been no subsidies from local authorities in order to continue doing our work, donations are becoming increasingly rare as many people around the word are affected economocally, and our volunteers - who in normal times provide us with over 90% of our fundng, have disappreared due to travel restrictions and closures.

However, its not all bad news!

The Pacuare project has contnued operatng through this whole pandemic - because we have a commitment. Not only to the Ministry of Environemnt, whom overee our research and provide us with the permits to do so; but also to the local community of Pacuare, who in more ways than we think, depend on the project for economic sustenance and cultural interaction.

We also have a commitment to the turtles. 

Withour our albeit limited presence on the beach, we are sure that 100% of the nests laid in 2020 would have been poached.

Therefore we are immensly proud to give our supporters an excllusive preview of our official report for 2020

This year we managed to save 95 nests from three species of Sea turtle - the endangered leatherback turtle, the critically endangered hawksbill turtlle, and the vulnerable green turtle.

This accounts to us saving 50% of leatherback nests, 47% of green turtle nests, and an incredible 80% of hawksbill nests.

We estimate to release 4565 hatchlings from the 3 species this year. (we estimate, as there are still two nests waiting to hatch!).

This is an amazing acheivement , considering that since March we have received no outside help, and this work was undertaken by our dedicated biologist, Eduardo, and our fabulous local and international Research Assistants.

We also must give credit to the community of Pacuare , who despite not being able to earn a salary this year, have continued to support the project and work the beach with us.

If you have been supporting us, we still need you.

2021 is going to be an even bigger challenge as we try to recover and raise funds to be able to continue our work. Unfortunately, the construction of the facilities at the station has been put on hold until we have to funds to complte them.

So please, share with freinds, family and colleagues, and help us continue protecting the turtles of Pacuare!

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It has been a difficult period of time for the whole world, including our Project in Pacuare.

Since the beggining of March, travel restrictions begun in Costa Rica. This translated into the cancellation of all our international volunteers' visits which fund about 70% of our project through their fees and donations.

As an organization, we had to take a step back and prioritize our sea turtle conservation efforts over rebuilding the volunteers' dorms. Here is a summary of the results obtained to date for 2020s sea turtle nesting season in Pacuare:

 

Leatherback turtle:

A total of 62 nesting females were identified and 150 nests were registered. Our team was able to protect 50% (75 nests). A total of 52 hatched nests have produced 2,539 baby turtles. The emergence success of these nests was 70%. The nesting season for this species is expected to end this month. 

Green turtle:

Only two nesting females have been identified and 14 nests have been reported so far. Our team has saved 5 of these nests (35.71%). Only 2 nests have hatched and produced 136 baby turtles with 65.96% emergence success. 

Hawksbill turtle:


Only 2 nesting females have been identified and 3 nests reported. Two of them (66.7%) were protected by our team. There have been no births yet.

Unfortunately we have a figure of 10 hunted turtles, most of them in the last two months. Two hawksbills and 8 green turtles. Boats are seen daily in the sea and as far as we know turtles spear. Every hunted turtle information has been reported to the Pacuare Coast Guard station but we have not had anyone caught or punished. At some point they have come to speak directly with us or to walk the beach but with all the covid emergency and the little staff they have had, they do not promise us much support this year.

 

On the other hand, we are seeing light at the end of the nest and our country will be ready to receive international tourists once again starting on August 1st. We hope that this change can help us overcome little by little our lack of funds and our lack of volunteers to patrol the beaches and save more sea turtle nests. Also, locals have helped our project so much by patrolling the beach at night and saving nests from poachers.

If you are interested to be part of this initiative, don't hesitate to contact us and schedule your visit through volunteers@latinamericanseaturtles.com 

Thank you so much for your donations. Your kindness gives us strenght through these troubling times to continue doing our best for the sake of sea turtle conservation in Costa Rica and Latin America.

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By the first week of March 2020, two of the volunteers' dorms were almost ready. This was possible thanks to your support and a grant by The Rufford Foundation. We just need $300 to buy and apply paint on the walls.

There are still four more dorms to rebuild, but the COVID-19 crisis is having a major impact in our project and our organization. More than 95% of our volunteers come from different parts of the world and they were forced to cancel due to the travel limitations to decrease the probability of contagion. They are also our main source of funding through the fees they pay and the donations they make. As a consequence, our organization is working only with the basics to reduce the costs and keep the project alive.

The protection and the release of an average of 10,000 new baby turtles depend on the daily work of our team. If you want to continue supporting this cause, make sure to share this campaign with your family, friends and loved ones. Also, follow our organization on social media to be updated on our work.

Please, stay home, safe and healthy. The only way we can overcome this crisis is if we all do our part!     

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Organization Information

Asociacion Latin American Sea Turtles - LAST

Location: Tibas, San Jose - Costa Rica
Website:
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Twitter: @widecast1
Project Leader:
LAST VOLUNTEERS
Tibas, San Jose Costa Rica
$1,237 raised of $8,000 goal
 
18 donations
$6,763 to go
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