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Grass Roots Sea Turtle Conservation, Costa Rica

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Grass Roots Sea Turtle Conservation, Costa Rica
Grass Roots Sea Turtle Conservation, Costa Rica
Grass Roots Sea Turtle Conservation, Costa Rica
Grass Roots Sea Turtle Conservation, Costa Rica
Grass Roots Sea Turtle Conservation, Costa Rica
Grass Roots Sea Turtle Conservation, Costa Rica
Grass Roots Sea Turtle Conservation, Costa Rica

Its been a while since the project at Buenavista has reached its goal - and yet the donations kept on coming.

We were able to achieve more than what we had possibly hoped - the hatchery has been incubating eggs for over a year now, and we are able to keep on top of vital repair work to keep it in optimum form

So sadly, it is time for us to deactivate this project that has been so well received and supported by the public.

We have taken to decision to channel funds into other deserving projects - which are now live on Global Giving.


all at ASVO would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your generosity - you have played a part in the protection of an endangered species, and thanks to this campaign we have managed to release thousands of baby turtles into the ocean.


Please keep following us, and our new projects, to keep informed of our conservation battle in Costa Rica!

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the hatchery at Buenavista needs shelter
the hatchery at Buenavista needs shelter

July saw the start of a brand new nesting season on Buenavista beach, and the hope that it will be a successful season just like 2014.

The statistics so far are promising with the arrival of a rarely seen hawksbill turtle ( Eretmochelys imbricata) on these coasts. And she is not alone:-

So far this year we have logged  104 turtle sightings of which 9 have been the elusive hawksbill. The majority of the other sightings were of the Olive Ridley ( lepidochelys olivacea) which is common in this area of Costa Rica. 13 were unidentified.

So in our hatchery we now have over 7000 olive ridley eggs,and nearly 300 hawksbill eggs incubating.  Considering that the hawksbill turtle is a critically endangered species according to the IUCN Red list, this is no small feat.


The "el Niño" phenomenom  has had a devasting effect on caribbean shores, and the rainy season this year on the pacific is expected to be just as harsh. So far Guanacaste region has been suffering a drought for several months - not the best conditions for incubating turtle eggs. Volunteers and staff and manually watering each nest, to bring down the scorching sand temperatures.

We so desperately need to put the finishing touches to the hatchery, that was built using Global Giving donations.

As you can see from the pictures, the nests need some shelter and protection from the sun, and from the rain when it inevitably comes. 

This will allow the eggs to have the best chance of survival at the optimum temperatures - especially in these difficult conditions. We are so close...

7300 eggs incubating
7300 eggs incubating
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The support shown by the public for this project has been astounding.

I now hope that this will be the final report that we send, as Grass roots Sea Turtle Conservation project is almost...almost fully funded!

we have made good use of the investment - the hatchery has been more successful than ever before - with 32,367 baby turtles released safely back into the ocean, from 565 nests that had been rescued and successfully transferred into YOUR hatchery!

This was all thanks to the generous contributions you made, allowing the purchase and replacement of much needed, higher quality, longer lasting materials.

Of course none of this would be possible without our dedicated staff - who day in, day out are at the project, apart from their families, putting the turtles first. And without a doubt, I need to mention the 156 international volunteers who graced us with their presence, sweat,  and man power throughout the 2014 season, completeing the structure of the hatchery and then protecting the delicate nests.


Truly, thank you.

I sincerely hope that the next report you recieve will be the last - that  we can reach our goal and target, and save many more nests in the future, thanks to Global Giving.

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the hatchery filling up
the hatchery filling up

Buenavista has had a long season.

Most nesting activity on the pacific coast declines in December and January, but on our little 3km stretch of beach, the staff and volunteers are still working hard.

Unfortunately peak nesting season in Costa Rica coincides with rainy season, and the limited access across the swollen estuary makes life difficult, especially when we rely on international volunteers to help us with the sheer volume of work.

as yet not all data has been collected from the 2014 nesting season - but the best news is that thanks to Global Giving donations, we managed to purchase 4 thermometers, which get buried inside the nests alongside the incubating eggs. this may not sound like a big deal  - but this small advance means that we can monitor nest temperatures throughout the different climatic changes of the season. The gender of sea trtles is temperature determined - meaning that nests need to keep an optimum temperature in order to produce both male and femaes of the species. Anything under 23°C or over 33°C will rarely hatch. Towards the lower end of that spectrum, will produce mainly males, and the warmer temperatures will produce more females. 

This reasearch is vital for the future of our turtles.


So our new hatchery has had a great start, its proving to be a worthwhile investmenet in conserving our marine resources -but the work hasnt finished yet. Once the last nest has hatched, it will be time to excavate all the used  sand, and replace it with clean uncontaminated sand ready for the 2015 nesting season. All of this has been possible , in the short space of time that Global Giving has supported our project -- the turtles, and ASVO send their thanks to all our donors!

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pacific green hatching meeting an Olive Ridley!
pacific green hatching meeting an Olive Ridley!

As every year, the nesting season n Playa Buenavista has been dynamic! Due to its seclusion, and lack of contamination, its almost as if the female population of Olive Ridley turtles on the northern pacific coast line, know. They know that if they come to nest here they will be protected, their eggs will be safe, and their babies have a higher chance of survival.

All of this has been possible this year thanks to the commitment of our staff and volunteers, and the generousity of unknown people from all over the world, who have contributed to this cause.

We have commenced the replacement of old, eroded materials in the hatchery, with stronger fencing, new meshing, and a semi permeable covering for the precious nests, who need an optimum temperature to produce equal amounts of male and female turtles.

The rainy season took its toll, bringing fragile nest temperatures down, but this covering saved them from flooding. Now its summer time, with soaring temperatires and scalding sun beating down on the hatchery, but this covering is keeping the nests, albeit slightly, shaded.

The results speak for themselves - up until October, we have managed to rescue 480 nests from natural predators such as racoons and crabs, and also from the tides and rain. These  nests  contained 42,626 eggs, all of which were protected 24 hours a day, which in turn produced 20,910 baby turtles.

So you could say that there are nearly 21,000 more turtles in the ocean than before..all thanks to the generosity of our supporters.

If the turtles could say thank you, they would.


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Organization Information


Location: san jose - Costa Rica
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @asvovolunteers
Nicki Volunteers
Project Leader:
Nicki Volunteers
san jose, san jose Costa Rica

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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