Dear Donors, Fundraisers and Supporters,
I's time to give yourself a pat on the back for making another milestone in our project in Costa Rica. At the end of May our research project has become fully sustainable that we been able to end our partnership but th work is still continuing. With your help this is another project that is self sustaining so thank you!
With this in mind we are still facing a huge crisis in protecting our rainforest in Costa Rica and so we begin our next part of the journey where we will be running mulitple research projects alongside a local outreach program to help educate the wider community of the issues we are facing and how they can help prevent it dying out. We have an outreach team currently preparing and getting ready to hit he streets but we now are actively fundraising essential funds to help cover outreach educational materials and local event attendance costs to ensure we maximise our reach.
The future is bright but we can't stop our efforts just yet/
Thanks for being apart of our mission.
Tyrone, Shayle, Chelsea and the whole Action Change Costa Rica Team!
Jaguars and Turtles are both threatened species for different reasons. Jaguars have been pushed into smaller areas due to human development. Turtles are poached for their meat and shells and suffer due to human interference. We find jaguars preying on nesting turtles in Costa Rica. We need to use research to create awareness locally and internationally and assess the impact on species and habitats through funding research and assisting anti-poaching patrols.
After 10 years of research, we better understand the critical nature of the habitat to turtles, jaguars and other species listed as endangered or critically vulnerable in the red list of IUCN. Using this research we can better educate the local community and engage them to support action to preserve these Species which will also generate income for the locals. Just $20 will purchase a 32gig storage card which is critical for storing footage captured on our camera traps!
Thank you for your suppor
Unfortunately for us all here at Jalova, the end of March saw our gates closing due to the Covid-19 crisis. Even with our gates closed, we have been able to help out the local community with their tree planting, beach cleaning and anti-poaching efforts amongst a town thrown into economic crisis. Without tourism the local economy has been reduced dramatically, leaving many people struggling but they are still banding together to protect their town and the local turtles who call Tortuguero home.
With the majority of staff and participants returning home when the crisis began, it has been up to local partners and the few remaining staff members to maintain the passion and integrity of our projects during this time.
The town of Tortuguero itself has experienced a terrible loss of its economic revenue during this period, as the local economy is almost solely driven by tourism. This has unfortunately led to an increase in poaching activity within the National Park which has been particularly impacting the local turtle population. To help combat the increase in poaching, the remaining staff have been working with our partners at the Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) and local volunteers by participating in daily turtle monitoring surveys. While working with the STC we have been able to participate in local tree planting, a beach clean in conjunction with the local rangers and volunteers collecting over 200kg of rubbish and the protection of thousands of sea turtles through nightly beach patrols and morning surveys.
Over the last 3 months we have watched the transition from Leatherback to Green turtle season, welcoming the thousands of Green turtles who nest in Tortuguero National Park every year. We have also seen an increase in the local Hawksbill sea turtle population from last year, which is incredible news as this is a critically endangered species. Hatchling season has also begun, with hundreds of tiny tracks scattered along the beach. With SDG 14 - Life Below Water - being the focus these past 3 months, it is incredible to see these animals making their way to our shores with increasing numbers.
While we have been unable to fundraise during this time, it won’t be long before we are back up and running and looking for the support of our incredible donors to help us reach our goals. Once our gates are open, we will need your support to make repairs, obtain new scientific equipment such as camera traps and to provide us with the never ending motivation to clean up our beaches after our months of absence. So we are calling on all of our supporters to hold tight, have faith and see the beauty that still exists in this world during this difficult time! We will be back before you know it and that return can only be possible with the strength and dedication of our supporters!
While this quarter has been a challenging one amongst the COVID-19 crisis, we have still been able to support our local community and protect the turtles we love. Our next challenge will be maintaining our high spirits until our gates are able to reopen and we couldn’t do that without you! The Jalova field team could not have held strong or achieved so much with so few resources without the help of you – our supporters – and we cannot thank you enough for your constant support and generosity!
Costa Rica Conservation
This quarter our staff and participants have collected over 136kg of trash from our beach, installed over 50 sign posts and installed 4 camera traps in preparation for the beginning of the jaguar and turtle seasons here in Tortuguero National Park. The tireless work of our participants is so crucial to having a successful season and we couldn’t be prouder of everyone's hard work! Our interns have also been working hard to lead the team in designing and installing a new garden bed and painting a new mural for base. Every little improvement helps to make Jalova more eco-friendly and welcoming for everyone!
Building projects aside, Jalova had an influx of incredible sightings over the last three months! From vine snakes eating whiptails to jaguars bouncing down forest trails and kingfishers fishing along the canals, we’ve seen it all! Heavy rains in January meant that the frogs were flourishing, and many evenings were spent out in the coconut plantation following their mating calls for a glimpse. There’s nothing quite like wading through the swamps to find our amphibian friends!
Being a hot humid jungle means that the life of our electrical equipment is significantly shortened, and we often need to replace crucial monitoring equipment part-way through the season. Something absolutely essential for our jaguar project are our camera traps! Jalova is in desperate need of a new set of cameras, which are due for purchase ASAP! Any support or donations to the trust would be amazing to help us obtain these important pieces of equipment! You’re continued support means that we can work to protect and better understand elusive creatures such as the jaguar, and better protect their habitat within Tortuguero National Park.
The largest impact that we have made together is through our monthly beach cleans. By supporting our fundraising efforts, your support is a constant motivation to collect more and clean greater areas to make our beaches a cleaner place. These beach cleans not only link with SDG 14 – life below water – but also with SDG 15 – life on land – because while our beaches are crucial for our nesting sea turtles, they are important habitat for jaguars and other land reptiles too.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 our research base at Jalova has been forced into hibernation. We are calling all our supporters to not lose sight of the bigger picture during this time! As once we reopen, we will be relying on all of you to help us once again recreate the beautiful and safe place that our beaches are for the wildlife of Tortuguero National Park.
This quarter has once again left us in awe of the wildlife Jalova has to offer and strengthened our mission of helping Tortuguero’s beaches become a safe haven for wildlife. Our next challenge will be keeping faith and keeping our spirits high, so that when Jalova reopens we can jump head first into ensuring our piece of paradise is protected for generations to come! The Jalova field team could not have achieved so much without the help of you – our supporters – and we cannot thank you enough for your constant and consistent generosity!
Costa Rica Conservation
The final quarter here in Jalova is a very special time of year, as two mutually distinct worlds collide in an explosion of life. The end of the year brings with it both the height of baby turtle emergences from nests that we have spent the last eight months diligently marking and the iridescent colourations of the breeding migrant birds. These two worlds come to Jalova and coexist in harmony, making this quarter truly unique in what can be experienced by volunteers and staff present.
2019 was a record-breaking year here in Jalova. Times were beaten, species lists were enlarged but arguably most importantly we had a record-breaking turtle season. Due to the exertion of our excellent volunteers and through the ever-present support of the GVI Trust we were able to mark more nests, see more total turtles and safely guide more hatchlings back to the sea than ever before in the ten years this base has been collecting data. We saw a total of 18,111 turtle tracks on our beach, guided 5,403 hatchlings and marked 109 nests. These are unprecedented numbers within our comparatively small survey area of three-miles of beach and it really hammers home the unparalleled importance of this national park and the work that we are doing here. Volunteers from all around the world have come to our little strip of paradise and made a real difference over an extended period of time and that more than anything really embodies everything we stand for. The passion and commitment shown by all the wonderful people that have contributed this year was truly inspiring.
The globally significant work that we do here in Jalova coincides strongly with the sustainable development goals (SDGs) that are set by the UN. SDG 15, Life on Land, and SDG 16, Life in Water, are both represented by the turtle population here as, by their very nature, they embody the link between earth and sea. The study of these areas, beaches and coastlines, is so vital to the preservation of our future because they are so sensitive and dynamic in their expression of damage. Be this through the waste that washes up on the beaches indicating the health of the oceans or diversity of fauna who traffic the beach indicative of forest health, these areas are sensitive to all. These inter-tidal areas are affected by both land pollution and sea-pollution and by human pressures both on habitats. It is therefore imperative that these areas are focussed on as they are showing us the direct consequences of the health of the planet. It is only through the direct support of the GVI Trust that we are able to continue to work here and provide a cutting-edge location for volunteers to come and express their passion for helping our world. Every single individual through our gates contributes to our global vision and makes a difference in more ways than they could ever know.
Working with these huge aquatic reptiles is not easy. There are two surveys that must occur every day for our data to be comparable and to form a coherent picture of our test area. These two surveys are the morning Nest Check and the nocturnal Night Walk. The crux of Nest Check runs in parallel with the beach itself, as they are both ever-changing and always exciting. Although some of the longest, these can be some of the most rewarding types of surveys as they encompass so many different types of skills that we encourage participants to exhibit while they are here with us. Nests Checks go out every morning from 5.30 during the latter part of the year. As a group this year we completed roughly 750 hours on the beach, which is approximately the same as spending a whole month out there during a year!
This commitment is testament to the quality of volunteers we have had this year, with the vast majority being passionate and exceptional individuals with a passion for helping this national park. This staggering amount of data collection hours would not be possible without the pervasive support of the GVI Trust either. These Nest Checks allow us to monitor one of the most dynamic habitats within the park, indeed the habitat that enabled this area of land to become a park. Every single day something is altered, no Nest Check is the same as the other. Engraved into the sand is the story of the night before, the roads taken by the expecting mothers, shadowed by the member of the Panthera genus that has evolved for millions of years to be the master of stealth. During high turtle season the mighty Jaguar occurs on our beaches in record concentrations, able to coexist with so many of its kin due to the high availability of resources. To witness stories told via prints really helps to invoke the imagination of every participant, bringing us closer to insights into this incredibly ethereal predator.
This being Tortuguero the Turtle project holds a special place in everyone’s heart but it is by no means all that must be accomplished here. This comes sharply into focus during this final quarter as the forest comes alive with kaleidoscopic colourations that wouldn’t look out of place in a Hubble telescope photograph. These extravagant breeding colourations are found on the bird migrants who arrive in Jalova for arguably the most evolutionarily vital part of their lives. This, on top of the turtle hatchlings and Jaguar activity certainly makes for very exciting times here! They flock to our trees in great numbers, happily gobbling up all the year-round available resources in a quick pit-stop on their marathonic journeys. They highly require this quick pit-stop because they have come to the neotropics for arguably the most evolutionarily vital reason; to breed. I guess they wouldn’t come all this way if they didn’t have an important reason. Costa Rica is famed for is Avifauna and just by spending a couple of days here it is not hard to see why.
Even someone who had previously expressed little interest in birds would be blown away by the sheer diversity and abundance of birds. They represent a clear and distinct place within the psyche of the Costa Rican naturalist, or any avifauna enthusiast. Some of them are with you day in and day out, they are your constant companions and you spend every day in their present and they in yours. Then, occasionally, some elusive species graces you with their presence and it drastically improves your day; to be able to witness it and share those rare moments.
So many amazing things happened this year in Jalova and none of it would be possible without the support of the Trust. In order to collect all of this cutting-edge data we need functional and hardy-equipment and electronics do not do as well in the humidity as mosquitoes do. It is the support of the GVI Trust and their generosity that has enabled us to keep on collecting this information and allowed us to keep on providing volunteers from all around the world to come to Jalova and experience so many once-in-a-lifetime moments.
From all of us here at Jalova we want to say thank you to everyone who has contributed and continues to contribute, without you none of this would be possible.
Costa Rica Conservation
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