Sea turtles arrive at Ostional in Costa Rica, some badly hurt

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The Ostional National Wildlife Refuge in Costa Rica witnesses the arrival of thousands of turtles every year for nesting season, a spectacular natural event which takes place several times a year since four different species of sea turtles take to this place to lay their eggs.

This past Monday a calculated amount of almost eleven thousand olive ridley sea turtles made it to this nesting site in Guanacaste; and many more continued to arrive throughout the week.

Each of these olive ridley turtles can lay in average 105 eggs, given all the proper conditions at the beach the eggs take approximately 45 days to hatch, however only 1% of the eggs survive predators. Members of the Ostional Development Association have a special government permit since 1987 that allows them to extract a 6% of the total of eggs to sell for human consumption; these eggs are sold in bags properly identified with the logos and seals of the Association, yet, illegal poachers are always a threat, one that is very hard to control. The members of the Association depend of the income generated from the sale of the eggs, and therefore they also help protect the turtles and the eggs from illegal poachers.

Sadly, the last few days of the “arribadas” many of the turtles that arrive to the beach are badly hurt, some have fishing hooks attached to different parts of their bodies, others have plastic stuck around them, straws in their nostrils, one or two of their fins amputated, usually the back ones, and many other wounds evidently caused by humans; these conditions make it difficult for them to make their way to the beach, dig their nests and sometimes after making several attempts they give up and try to return to the beach, suffering also the attack of predators such as the vultures. The Association reports that the presence of fishing boats during the nesting seasons is a constant.

A large number of tourists travel to Nosara to delight in this incredible natural phenomenon, the park rangers have different regulations in place to protect the turtles and educate the visitors. However, efforts are never enough, as the general population needs to be made aware and be conscious of the damage being caused to natural resources.

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