Sea Turtles in Costa Rica...
Volunteering on the Rich Coast


Learning about sea turtles in Costa Rica... today was yet another exciting experience, here on the Rich Coast!

It was getting close to dusk here in Montezuma, around 5pm to be exact. And walking along the beach, just north of town - a small crowd was gathering - directly in front of the turtle hatchery...

Sea Turtles in Costa Rica
Catherina and Tiare Releasing Sea Turtles in Montezuma

A group of volunteers - all working at the Romelia-ASVO Turtle Camp, were in the process of getting ready - for something much anticipated...

A new batch of baby Olive Ridley sea turtles had hatched - and it was just about time to set them free, a journey across the beach - and into the Gulf of the Nicoya.

Such a fascinating and educational experience - please read on to learn more about protecting sea turtles, and volunteering in Costa Rica...








Olive Ridley Sea Turtle in Costa Rica

Here in Costa Rica, there are three species of sea turtles - those best known to make their nests along the Rich coasts...

There's the green sea turtle, the hawksbill sea turtle, and the giant leatherback sea turtle - one that is listed as endangered.

Sea Turtles in Costa Rica Baby Turtle
A Baby Olive Ridley

Today in Montezuma however, it was another kind of sea turtle - the Olive Ridley - that was the prime focus.

Babies having just hatched from their relocated nests - were about to be released to the ocean.

...

It was interesting to learn...

Olive Ridley turtles are smaller than some of the other more common varieties. As adults for example, they grow to be around 100 pounds, quite in contrast to say - a full grown leatherback, which can easily tip the scale...

Sea Turtles in Costa Rica Leatherback
A Mother Leatherback Turtle, Disguising Her Nest of Eggs

...pushing upwards of 2000 pounds!

Something else...

Olive Ridleys are unique - in that they have been known to reproduce in extremely large numbers... around 1000 mother turtles lining the shores at a single time!

Sea Turtles in Costa Rica Babies
Baby Turtles, Making Their Way...

But it's a sight uncommon today.

Various threats exist, putting turtles like Olive Ridleys - and other species, in danger.

For example - humans.

Poachers who capture turtles for their meat and hides, and steal eggs from nests - are a serious threat.

They, along with natural dangers like changing tides, and a number of different predatory animals - are reasons why programs like the one here - are very much needed.

Sea Turtles in Costa Rica Working
Helping Sea Turtles in Costa Rica

Special attention and care must be taken to ensure species of turtles like the Olive Ridley...

...now listed as vulnerable by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources)...

Continue to thrive.

And today - here at the Romelia-ASVO Turtle Camp & Hatchery, here in Montezuma...

It most definitely is!




Volunteering to Help Sea Turtles in Costa Rica

Here in Montezuma - as well as in other locations throughout the country...

Something definitely is being done to help protect and conserve sea turtles in Costa Rica.

Founded back in November of 1998, the Romelia Refuge - in collaboration with ASVO (Association of Volunteers for Service at Protected Areas)...

Sea Turtles in Costa Rica Romelia
The Romelia-ASVO Hatchery House that Gerzan Rodriguez Built

...works to evaluate and protect sea turtle species in the area - every year between the months of July and December, a time when sea turtles in Costa Rica are active along the coast.

Sea Turtles in Costa Rica Olive Ridleys
Baby Sea Turtles in Costa Rica

Program volunteers take on a number of different tasks.

For example...

They determine how many female turtles are laying eggs.

They learn about and deal with, both human and natural threats.

And also, a very last option - as is the case here in Montezuma...

They work to relocate turtle nests - an effort to to prevent their destruction from ever-changing tides.

...

Interested in learning more about this program - it was especially neat to meet and hear from some of the volunteers themselves...

Sea Turtles in Costa Rica Volunteers
Turtle Hatchery Volunteers - Catherina, Tiare, Suvi and Rani

Explaining more about it, Rani, here as a volunteer for an entire year...

Sea Turtles in Costa Rica Rani and Jeff
With Rani in Front of the Hatchery

...was describing how it complimented her focus in school, back home in Colorado - Environmental Studies and Spanish.

Talking about being a volunteer, she mentioned some of her various duties.

Things like...

  • Going on nightly beach patrols with other volunteers - searching for newly arrived mother turtles
  • Performing nest excavations, and relocating eggs to the hatchery - a safe haven from potential threats - hungry raccoons for example!
  • Working to ensure that the hatchery is protected from changing tides, by placing large sand bags and wooden posts between it and the ocean...

Sea Turtles in Costa Rica Viewed from Beach
A Wall of Driftwood Prevents the Rising Tide from Reaching the Relocated Nests

Something else she described - there are other duties expected as a volunteer, things that go over and above working with the sea turtles...

Sea Turtles in Costa Rica Recycle
Volunteers, Recycling in Montezuma

One such thing for example - is taking an active part in the Montezuma Recycling Program. Founded early 2011 - it's just one more way the town is becoming more and more environmentally-minded.

...

Recounting some of their favorite experiences about being a volunteer here - one thing all of the girls mentioned, was how amazing it was - the very first time you see a mother sea turtle, crawl up onto the beach in search of a nesting spot.

After witnessing such a sight - real and in person - it's instantaneous...

You have an even greater understanding and appreciation for exactly why you're here.




Well - the time had come!

Catherina and Tiare began making their way down to the ocean, ready to release the newborn baby Olive Ridley turtles...

Sea Turtles in Costa Rica Walk
Walking to the Ocean to Release the Baby Turtles...

...and it was so neat to see these little guys - stammering one after the other along the beach, and into the ocean beyond.

Next, please enjoy a video - capturing the experience, releasing sea turtles in Costa Rica!




Releasing Sea Turtles in Costa Rica - Video!

Here's a video, capturing the release of newborn baby Olive Ridley sea turtles...

Enjoy! :-)

TICR Videos - Sea Turtles in Costa Rica

Pretty neat!

Well, I really hope you enjoyed this page.

See you again soon for more interesting and educational experiences, here in Costa Rica! :-)










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