Turtle Nesting Season in Costa Rica

olive-ridley-turtle-costa-ricaPlaya Tortuga, in Ojochal, is a special beach that is home to many nesting sea turtles. It provides an ideal habitat for nesting turtles as it is surrounded by the salty sea water and the fresh river water. The beach provides a perfect sand structure and safe nesting area, at both low and high tide, for the nesting turtles. Nesting has now started as of mid-July, and will happen until the first week of December. Reserva Playa Tortuga, a non-profit organization located in Ojochal, is looking for volunteers to help with their active nightly patrolling. Accompanied by a trained guide, volunteers will walk the beach in search of finding the Olive Ridley Sea Turtles that are nesting and partake in a beautiful experience offered by Mother Nature.

Turtles are important to wildlife in the area as they contribute to the overall health of the ocean. They help maintain coral reefs, clean the ocean floors and help control populations of jelly fish and other crustaceans. They are also an important part of the food chain, as they provide food sources for larger fish, like sharks and the babies provide food sources for smaller fish in the estuary. The shells from the turtle eggs contribute to give the beach nutrients which keep the life cycles active on the beach as well.

If you are not able to volunteer, a way everyone can help out to help reduce the human impact on the nesting turtles, is that conservationists request that we please not drive on the beach, not only is it illegal but it also destroys the turtle’s habitat. Fires at night are also not a naturally occurring phenomenon and so nesting turtles may become disoriented. The weight of the vehicle can also compact and either crush the nest or pact the sand so tightly the baby turtles cannot emerge. If they do emerge they may get stuck following the tire track and never reach the ocean. Babies have a 48 hour period where after they hatch they need to reach the ocean floor to find nutrition and shelter in order to survive. Fires on the beach at night also disturb the nesting turtles and attract the babies when they are hatching, leading them away from sea.

Sea turtles are very old organisms. They live on the Earth more than 220 million years. They managed to survive weather changes which killed the dinosaurs.

MORE INFO: rptojochal@gmail.com (Subject: Turtle Volunteer) or by phone 2786 5200.