21 Sep 2015
Punta Pargos Green Turtle Monitoring and Protection Program
Punta Pargos Marine Turtle Conservation Project 2016-17
Punta Pargos Marine Turtle Conservation Project 2018-19
Monitoring activities of nesting marine turtles and protecting the nesting area from illegal harvest of turtles and eggs. Teaching Costa Rican youth the importance of protecting the local wildlife.
The Sea Turtles Forever Punta Pargos Marine Turtle Monitoring and Protection Project was established to collect data on population numbers, nesting activities and spatial distribution of nests while also stopping the unrestrained poaching of turtles and eggs that had been taking place in this area for decades. Our monitoring teams cover five beaches that have been designated as “Apex” nesting sites for the endangered Eastern Pacific Green turtle. Our nightly patrols secure the nesting area from poachers and trans-locate nests that are then monitored until hatch. Our teams take data on turtle biometrics, spatial distribution of nests and hatch success rates. Our team also places aluminium inconel tags on all nesting females and shares tag data with other research projects along the west coast of Costa Rica. This tag data has revealed new information on movements of nesting Green Turtles and has added valuable information to research on a regional scope. The Punta Pargos Project has operated an important social program in the area of Punta Pargos for a decade, running educational seminars at 7 area school. Our program is focused on “Why Sea Turtles are Important” and teaches area youth about marine turtles and their importance in the environment, we lecture and also hand out environmental coloring books to all students. This program has had wide acceptance by the area schools and teachers and brings hope for the future that the children will not grow up to disregard environmental laws regarding illegal harvest of wildlife. Our project has also supplied soccer uniforms and balls to the school closest to the nesting area which is located in Paraiso.
Sea Turtles Forever hires and trains local Costa Ricans to run monitoring patrols with our project directors, this creates job opportunities and also binds us to the community. Each of our Costa Rica patrollers has family and relatives in the area and they all appreciate the fact that we create jobs protecting the areas environment. Sea Turtle Forever also runs an extensive marine habitat restoration program every year in the Punta Pargos area. Our teams have removed up to 15,000 items per year from important marine turtle habitat including Lagartillo Reef which is one of the most significant marine turtle foraging reefs on the west coast of Costa Rica. This effort has created a great friendship with the local fishermen who were also some of the poachers and had deep animosity toward the project when we started operations. Now the fishermen have seen the reef explode back to life due to the extensive efforts of our team to remove debris and revitalize the system, the animosity has faded and the fishing is better than ever.