Map of TNP with areas of interest highlighted.
Working along with the Costa Rican Ministry of Environment (MINAE) and the Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC), GVI Jalova is helping to maintain mile markers that are indispensable for studying the parks nesting sea turtles. These mile markers also assist in GVI Jalova’s Jaguar Predation on Marine Turtle Study.
Running along the beach of Tortuguero National Park are pieces of driftwood standing tall and painted white with black writing. These pieces of driftwood are positioned every eight of a mile (approx. 200m) to provide localization for researchers and park officials. Ranging from mile zero and 2/8 to mile 18, these mile markers are read in order from north to south.
Mile markers are used for studies on marine turtles nesting as well as jaguar predation upon those turtles by jaguars the STC and GVI Jalova. This is also the most efficient way for the rangers of TNP to communicate the exact location of poaching activities.
Nightly patrols during turtle season desperately need these mile markers as electronic equipment such as GPSs have been shown to disturb sea turtles. For this reason sea turtle researchers use these markers to know their locations on the beach at night. For GVI these night surveys cover from mile 18 (Jalova river mouth) until mile 14 (Fig 1). During the morning GVI also uses these markers to monitor the nesting activities of marine turtles. These markers are used in GVI’s Jaguar Predation of Marine Turtles Study to know camera trap locations within a 1/8 of a mile assisting in the retrieval of cameras and the data analysis of the project.
This February staff and volunteers of GVI Jalova replaced 51 mile markers across three miles (15-18) of Tortuguero beach. This activity was conducted over two days and 20 different members of GVI participated in the mile marker maintenance. After a survey that identified the markers that needed maintenance, nine volunteers and four staff members of GVI Jalova Conservation Expedition replaced mile markers between miles 18 and 17 with wooden pieces pre-selected and painted. On the second time, using the whole team, mile markers for the other two miles were replaced.
Hoping that the mile markers will last many seasons, GVI Jalova is proud of making part of the history being involved in the conservation of Tortuguero National Park.
Many thanks for supporting this project.
Renato Saragoça Bruno,
Turtle Project Leader