night work under red lights!
Since 2017 Asociacion LAST has protected a total of 644 sea turtle nests in Pacuare Beach, 492 from Leatherback, 126 from Green and 26 from Hawksbill turtles. The 492 Leatherback nests represent 60.5% of the total nests laid by this species on the 7.1km beach in the last three years, with an average hatching success of 68.7%. This had led to an astonishing 24,804 released baby Leatherback turtles, who one day will hopefully find their way back to the same beach.
Regarding the Green and Hawksbill baby turtles, we have released a total of 6,540 and 2,027 respectively. There are still many nests in the hatchery that will hatch over the course of the coming months, so the number of these Green and Hawksbill baby turtles is yet to grow.
In 2017 we were pleasantly surprised with the visit of one Loggerhead turtle during one of our patrols. We were able to protect and collect this nest and after 60 days, 80 Loggerhead babies were released.
All the above was made possible thanks to the many agencies and supporting partners of LAST. Many volunteers were trained to work alongside our staff.
Unfortunately poaching and hunting remain as threats to the turtles in Pacure beach. 25 Green turtles and 3 Hawksbill turtles were killed by poachers during our patrols. The poaching in Pacuare is a testament to the importance of the work we do to protect turtles. It also shows the importance of involving the community in our work. Over the last three years LAST has involved the community more and more with great results. Many locals who started out as poachers were employed by LAST as patrol guides. Thanks to their dedication and help we were able to reduce the number of poached nests by having more shifts to patrol at night.
We are proud to announce that NO hawksbill turtles were poached in 2019!
LAST hopes to inspire many other locals to become part of the turtle community. This year LAST has offered English lessons to the locals given by our research assistants. The volunteers were able to learn Spanish along side them. This way the volunteers and the locals were able to interact more and this has strengthened the relationship between the Pacuare community and the LAST community.
Every year we learn more ways to sustain our work so we are able to achieve better results and save more turtles. The equipment for the patrols is essential to our work for collecting scientific data, as is the equipment in the hatchery. The equipment for the hatchery and for the patrols needs to be updated or replaced for the next season. Every year the hatchery needs to be built from scratch. Building the hatchery is hard labor and asks for the right materials. Scientific research has shown that the emergence success of the nests is related to the structure of the hatchery and its maintenance. With new materials and equipment for the hatchery we hope to keep up the good work and the high number of emergences.
LAST has invested most of its funds towards the turtle related work. However, an important part of our mission is to inspire more people around the world to play their part in protecting the turtles. This means recruiting more volunteers and giving them a pleasant stay at our project. Next year LAST hopes to invest more in the maintenance of the station where the volunteers stay. The dock is going to be rebuilt and so are the cabins. The volunteers are brought into the project with boats over the local rivers. Just as the station needs renewal, so do the boats. We hope to be able to create a homely and welcome stay for the volunteers who participate in the conservation work at LAST. They will be the ones to inspire others and share their stories at home. This way the work and awareness will not only be done at Pacuare but all over the world. Protecting and conserving our planet and its endangered animals is a responsibility we all share.
Although slightly short of our final goal, we managed to reach our objectives, and we have decided to withdraw this project from the donation platform.We will soon be launching our new donation project, so if you wish to continue helping the endangered turtles in Costa Rica, please leep an eye on our organization page, and social media!
We would like to thank all the partners, sponsors, donors, volunteers, locals and everyone else involved. Without you we would not be able to achieve our goal to protect and conserve all the species of Sea Turtles in Costa Rica.