Celebrating 200 Million Years on Planet Earth: Sea Turtles one of Costa Rica’s Most Treasured Ecotours
In sunny Costa Rica strong efforts are underway to continue to protect sea turtles. This small nation is the king of biodiversity and a leader in ecotourism. One of the many eco-tours available is taking time to visit the sea turtles of the Osa Peninsula. Osa Conservation has worked for a number of years to protect these amazing prehistoric creatures. Sea Turtle fossil records brings the age of these magnificent creatures to 200 million years ago making them some among the earth’s oldest living species. The Osa Peninsula is home to four different types of sea turtles including the leatherback. They are now critically endangered and there has been a surge among conservation groups to protect them from disappearing all together.
These little ones are fighting for their lives due to environmental factors. The increase in ocean pollution including domestic waste, pesticides, PCBs, plastics, soil particles, dioxins, hormones, mercury, lead, radioactive discharges, oil and many other pollutants are stressing these guys out. They often confuse non-degradable waste for their food causing them to die by suffocation. The Leatherback feeds off Jellyfish and unfortunately, they often confuse plastic bags for their food. Protecting the sea turtles in Costa Rica is one of the more high profile endangered species campaigns. Osa Conservation has been critical in saving these animals from complete extinction. Recent reports reveal that the existing populations are under a lot of stress due to the pollutants in the water, which they are mistaking for food.
Sea Turtles are also threatened by the illegal trade of them for their meat and the use of their shells for decoration and oil production. Their eggs are also sold on the black market at astonishingly high rates. There has been a widespread crackdown on illegal poaching of these turtles but the problem still persists today.
Working to protect their habitat and the young is part of the critical work that conservation groups do. Female sea turtles come to the land to lay their eggs. They arrive onshore at night to dig holes and lay their eggs. Some females even continue to store sperm after mating and laying eggs. It is interesting to note that the males never leave the water. It is only the female turtles that to come to the shore to their eggs and protect their young. This is the place where Osa Conservation steps in to protect the turtles by protecting the beach, monitoring the mothers and babies and watching protecting the eggs from poachers, they have had some success in ensuring the survival of these ancient creatures.
Crocodile Bay has worked closely with Osa Conservation on protecting the sea turtles and takes guests on tours to learn more about the sea turtles. It is a great activity to do while visiting the Osa Peninsula when looking to take a break from more vigorous outdoor activities. Osa Conservation also accepts volunteers who would like to assist in the research and conservation of sea turtles. These magnificent creatures are legends of the sea recognized for being strong powerful swimmers and having survived over 200 million years on this planet they must be doing something right.