Sea Turtle Conservation

We are a project initiated in October 2018 in response to a number of environmental and social problems facing the Osa Peninsula. Our primary aim is to conserve the populations of nesting Olive Ridley and Pacific Green turtles that come up to lay on Playa Carate and Playa Rio Oro, while integrating the local community into our conservation program. We are working with members of the gold-mining community to train them in order to keep paid positions in conservation.

We contribute to sea turtle conservation on our beaches through a variety of initiatives such as:

  • morning census patrols

  • night patrols

  • nest relocation and protection

  • data collection (for patrols, excavations, and more!)

  • tours for visitors

  • beach cleans and plastic reutilization

  • educational talks with locals, eco-lodges, and tourists

We hope to provide a collection of data so that it can be used to further our understanding of the impact of humans and other causes to the decline of nesting turtles. In addition, we publish our data in order for policy makers to make a positive impact around the world.

From our data collection and analysis, we seek to understand and mitigate the effects of climate change on sea turtle populations and collaborate with governmental and educational institutions in order to drive change.

Our Biggest Problem Locally, Aside From Poaching

Costa Rica is known to have dogs roaming freely around the country. With a great nose and swift digging skills the local, and stray, dogs of Carate are known to dig up and eat unprotected nests. We have started to manage the free-roaming dog populations. We capture stray dogs, castrate them, train them, and facilitate adoptions. Furthermore, we provide education to local people about controlling their dogs off leash and ensuring their dogs are well fed, so we can help control the predation of our precious eggs.

We have also been working on protecting nests in situ from free-roaming dog populations by using woven bamboo mesh covers and logs. This has proven to have a positive impact on the percentage of predated nests, and allows us to focus on conservation of the species without relying too heavily on the manipulation of nests and hatchery work. A collaborator of the project has had a paper published on this method in Marine Turtle Newsletters that can be seen following this link.

We are also looking to start to more intensively manage the free-roaming dog populations by holding castration clinics, providing more education to local people, and beginning a capture and relocation project before the next turtle season. Osa Peninsula Rescue & Adoptions is a partner organization in Puerto Jimenez that also works to address this issue on the peninsula (even by sending adoptable dogs to their future forever homes in Canada!) . Together, we not only help to improve the lives of many dogs, but also contribute to conservation on a much larger scale!

Explore more photos from our patrols!