For the second time in just a few weeks, Fuerza Publica officers have disrupted the illegal sea turtle egg trade in Costa Rica. Officers assigned to the Caribbean detachment of Fuerza Publica in Playa Moin, province of Limon, confiscated 437 sea turtle eggs carried by two suspects yesterday.
According to an official press release, one of the suspects is from Matina and the other from the city of Limon. Both men were detained and turned over to prosecutors.
Fuerza Publica Commander Erick Calderon explained that the rescued turtle eggs were turned over to a refuge so that they can be reintroduced in a nest and be allowed to hatch under supervision. The order was issued by the Ministry of the Environment (MINAE).
The suspects were apprehended by alert officers on foot patrol who noticed the men acting suspiciously on the beach and carrying a large sack.
The men and women of Fuerza Publica have been stepping up their patrols and investigations in the area since mid-April, after a group of six men armed with AK-47 assault rifles and 9mm handguns forced their way into a nursery set up to protect Leatherback sea turtles, bound and gagged volunteer workers, and made off with around 1,500 eggs -many ready to hatch.
The volunteers at that time explained that Turtle egg poaching has been a major problem in the port city of Limon. The environmentalists asked for increased protection and vigilance from Fuerza Publica, and they seem to be getting it.
A week after that brazen theft, Fuerza Publica rescued nearly 500 turtle eggs from the hands of three men traveling in a taxicab near Matina.
In Costa Rica, sea turtles enjoy significant protection by the government and the community in places like Playa Ostional in the Pacific and Tortuguero in the Northern Caribbean coast, but not in Playa Moin.