Sea Turtle Conservation

We are a community-led conservation project that was 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 sea turtles that come up to nest on the beaches of Carate, Rio Oro and Pejeperro, while integrating the local community into our conservation program. We are working to train local people in the conservation of sea turtles in order to provide more employment opportunities and reduce the evidence of environmentally damaging behaviors.

We collect nesting data all through the season (June - April) so that it can be used to further our understanding of the nesting populations and develop conservation strategies to help reduce negative impacts. In addition, we publish our data in order to contribute to the wider scientific community and knowledge on sea turtle populations.

From our data collection and analysis, we also look 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 in this sector.

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

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 begin the management of the free-roaming dog populations through initiatives such as low-cost castration clinics and veterinary care, facilitating adoptions of unwanted dogs, and providing education and support for local dog owners. 

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!