This project will increase the survival of leatherback, endangered green turtle and critically endangered hawksbill turtle during nesting season at Pacuare beach. LAST staff and local community members in alliance with international and national volunteers will patrol the beach at night to protect around 200 - 500 nests and ensure a safe incubation of the eggs. Monitoring, investigation and local community involvement are our tools to reduce poaching and the illegal trade of turtle products!
Pacuare is a key beach of the nesting area that spans between Nicaragua and Colombia, considered the 4 largest nesting site for the leatherback turtle population worldwide. Due to its remote location, there is no police or government organization present that can enforce Costa Rican laws protecting marine turtles and nests of all species and nesting green and hawksbill females would be poached by almost 100% without any safeguarding! The trade with eggs and meat jeopardizes species' survival.
Almost every season, since 2011, the community project can only save approx. 50% of all nests laid. Night patrols from 8pm - 4am, collecting eggs, protecting nesting turtles, taking scientific data and tagging females as well as relocating the nests into a hatchery are crucial for turtle's survival in Pacuare. By using an RTV 4 wheeler for patrolling and egg transportation, we aim to improve our strategy and protect twice as many nests in 2017 and minimize the illegal take under 50%.
Local conservation efforts in Pacuare will contribute to the population recovery of Atlantic sea turtle populations in the long term as steady protection will allow new generations to survive. Monitoring and data collection will provide us with important knowledge that can be shared with others, to produce population trends and to create better conservation plans for the region. We hope, that in 5 years, at least 80% of the community participates in conservation and poaching is reduced by 25%.