- Photo via Ministry of Security -

Published on Thursday, September 30, 2021
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Volunteers from Parrita Canton, in Puntarenas Province, organized to carry out work to protect sea turtle nests. They are patrolling in the day and at night to prevent the nests of the turtle eggs from being looted. These works are done with the support of police officers, the Ministry of Security said.

According to the ministry, recently volunteers were able to intercept a man who was allegedly looting turtle nests. However, when the man saw the volunteers, he hid in a forest area, leaving behind a bag with 67 turtle eggs. The suspect could not be found. The eggs were delivered to a turtle protection organization located in Bandera Beach.

After two months, of the total eggs rescued, 25 turtles were able to hatch, which were released on the beach by volunteers with the protection of police officers and park rangers.

A video of the release of the turtles was filmed by the ministry and can be seen on the AM Costa Rica YouTube channel.

According to Víctor Carmona, one of the volunteers, they will continue to patrol Bandera Beach to stop nest looters. The goal is to avoid the situation that happened in 2020 where 31% of the nests were looted, he said.

"Both the neighbors and the authorities are concerned that more and more dead turtles are on the beaches of the Central Pacific, because unlike what happens in the Caribbean, in here the turtles are not hunted for their meat, but only for their eggs, even when these are not yet ready to be spawned," the Ministry in its statement.

The volunteers have not yet created a formal organization, as they remain an anonymous entity of people who seek to protect the sea turtle. They call on citizens, especially in the community of Parrita, not to buy or eat turtle eggs.

In Costa Rica, the Corcovado Foundation has sea turtle conservation and volunteering programs in Hermosa Beach Wildlife Refuge, on the Pacific Coast. People interested in volunteering can obtain more information by visiting the foundation's website.

Sea turtles (superfamily Chelonioidea), also called marine turtles,   mature nesting female hauls herself onto the beach, nearly always at night, and finds suitable sand in which to create a nest. Using her hind flippers, she digs a circular hole 40 to 50 centimeters (16 to 20 inches) deep. After the hole is dug, the female then starts filling the nest with her clutch of soft-shelled eggs. Depending on the species, a typical clutch may contain 50–350 eggs.  The eggs will incubate for 50–60 days.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN,  classifies  sea turtle as either  "critically endangered", due to coastal peoples gather sea turtle eggs and meat for consumption.

What have you heard of volunteer organizations to protect animals in your community?  We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to news@amcostarica.com

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