Sea Turtle Network of Osa Peninsula

NNI has been chosen as the first and only International Sea Turtle Ambassadors

 

In 2016, we visited four of the projects on the network for one month, worked with the research directors, biologists and staff in the field, learning the specific objectives and infrastructure of each program and the social, political, economic, ethical and logistical challenges that they face in conservation and sustainable development. We have been working to support the sea turtle conservation programs of the network ever since. 

Background

The Osa Conservation Area, located on the southwest Pacific coast of Costa Rica, is one of the most biologically diverse places in the world and an important nesting area for two of the four sea turtles species found in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. The two main species of marine turtles that nest on the Osa Peninsula are Lepidochelys olivacea and Chelonia mydas and both are listed as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act and vulnerable and endangered, respectively, under the IUCN’s Red List. Most of the southwestern beaches of the region are home to highly intact ecosystems with very little coastal development. The existing development is considered minor in comparison to nearly any other marine turtle nesting site in the world. Some of the beaches are part of a number of national wildlife refuges which confer greater priority for protection from the Ministry for the Environment (or MINAET, Ministerio de Ambiente, Energía y Telecomunicaciones). These positive attributes create a globally important protected breeding and nesting area, whose importance for the conservation of the two target species will likely grow as coastal development pressures increase in other parts of the world.

In 2015, after some conversation, a group of people working with sea turtles at the region identified the need to improve the communication and technical skills of people working in sea turtle conservation at the region. With this goal in mind, the South Pacific Sea Turtle Network was created. This network involve around seven different efforts in sea turtle conservation, most of them focus on nesting beaches, but one also focus on feeding grounds at the Golfo Dulce.

This Network provides a unique opportunity to volunteers and people interested in sea turtle conservation to have a hands-on experience working in nesting beaches, hatcheries, the in-water project and a rescue center at one of the most biological diverse places on earth.  

Meeting with ACOTPRO (Asociación Conservacionista para la Protección de la Tortuga Marina del Progres) at their hatchery

Visiting hatchery at sea turtle conservation project in Punta Banco, Costa Rica 

The Objectives: 
  • Assist in the the unification of conservation programs on the nesting beaches in the Osa Peninsula and the feeding grounds at the Golfo Dulce

  • Support the SINAC-MINAE in working towards the establishment of standardized protocols and a centralized database to promote the development of evidence based interventions and policy 

  • Support the  development (professional development and infrastructure) of the community based conservation effort in El Progreso, Drake Bay 

  • Empower the youth in the local coastal communities to contribute to conservation of their biodiversity in a way that supports their culture and economy 

  • Promote national and international volunteer fieldwork with these programs