Playa Grande, Cahuita is home to three unique species of marine turtles: critically endangered Hawksbill and Leatherbacks and endangered Caribbean Green turtles. The area is home to terrestrial species, such as green iguanas, howler monkeys and coatis. Cahuita Turtle Rescue leads community-based conservation efforts such as beach cleans, nest harvesting, turtle releases and educational campaigns to ensure the survival of the marine turtle population and protect their rights to survive and nest.
Marine turtles in the region are at high risk of extinction due to hunting, poaching, plastic pollution, coastal development and unsustainable fishing. As a result, fewer than 40% of hatchlings survive without intervention. In 2022 alone, 20 out of 47 nests were poached; in 2023, 35 out of 80 recorded nests were poached. Sea turtles are integral to marine ecosystems and essential to native communities. Creating action plans and furthering conservation efforts is critical to their survival.
Cahuita Turtle Rescue works closely with the local community to protect native wildlife, ensuring the ongoing survival of marine turtles. They conserve and monitor the Playa Grande beach, harvest turtle eggs, keep eggs safe from poachers and release them after they hatch. We help collect morphometric and geospatial data on nesting turtles. The project also highlights community-based conservation through education, beach cleaning, campaigns for turtle protection and conservation action plans.
Playa Grande, Cahuita hosts 1000s of endangered sea turtles, with hundreds of yearly nesting events. Collaborative rescue efforts have reduced the poaching rate of nests and led to the release of over 7000 baby turtles since registration in 2018. Kilometres of beach have also been cleared. Expanding conservation interventions and furthering protective measures will ensure the long-term survival of marine turtles and the ongoing nesting events at local beaches.