Meet The Team Protecting Costa Rica’s Sea Turtle Mecca

Meet The Team Protecting Costa Rica’s Sea Turtle Mecca

– [Narrator] Our journey
takes us to Costa Rica, more specifically, Tortuguero, to witness the yearly
hatching of baby sea turtles, and meet the people protecting them. We arrive by way of La Pavona, a small port town with one
restaurant and a pay toilet. Our boat operator, Jairo Guzman, takes us down the Lucky River. It is a one hour journey
to the island itself. The view is beautiful. Nearly all species of sea
turtles are endangered, and this island is a
prominent nesting ground for both green and
leatherback sea turtles. It was here in 1959 the very
first Sea Turtle Conservancy was opened by Doctor Archie Carr, to specifically study green sea turtles, as they were nearly extinct. This was their original
base, this is their new base. Along with us from the Conservancy, is Jaime, head field director. David, station manager. (speaking in foreign language) Silvia, outreach coordinator, and their 10 research assistants. They all work here to educate
the public and gather data on the current sea turtle populations. On day one, we meet in
the middle of the night to count nesting turtles
and the eggs they lay. – Now let’s go to the beach. – [Narrator] Around
dawn, we spot a turtle. She is laying her eggs. She is one of 36,000
turtles nesting this season on the beach. Each turtle will lay around 110 eggs. In two months, they will hatch. We get some sleep, and that afternoon, we ask Jaime about the hatchings. – [Woman] Take one. – [Narrator] He says– – The best time to catch
it is right at dawn, around 5:30 in the morning. – [Narrator] That means we have
some downtime on the island. David invites us to his makeshift office. We discuss the vision of the Conservancy. – Basically, we’re
working here on the legacy of Doctor Archie Carr. He had this idea of changing
the mentality of the people, from harvesting the turtles
for their own consumption, and for making money out
of the meat and the eggs, into an eco-tourism based culture. It’s a very complex thing,
to protect the turtles. – [Narrator] On day
two, the alarm goes off, the team gathers, and
we head to the beach. – We are gonna need a bigger boat. (upbeat music)
(boat engine rumbling) – [Narrator] For a while, we see nothing. And then, baby green sea
turtles begin making their way to the ocean. Only 80% will make it out of the nest, and of those, one in 1,000
make it to adulthood. This means that out of nearly
four million hatchlings this season, only around
3,000 will become adults. And the odds are stacked against them. (waves crashing) There is more downtime. (footsteps squishing) On our final day, day three, we go to the beach to
excavate a hatched nest. The research assistants do this job. It is messy. They’re counting how
many eggs have hatched. In this nest, nine did not make it. They’ll add this
information to their decades of existing research. That afternoon, Jairo’s father,
Guzman Senior, picks us up. As we leave Tortuguero,
I can’t help but think of something Silvia said back at the base. (speaking in foreign language) Sea turtles are not gonna stop
being endangered this year. And they probably won’t
stop being endangered next year either. But it’s good to know that
there are people out there working hard to make change happen. (soft music)

24 thoughts on “Meet The Team Protecting Costa Rica’s Sea Turtle Mecca

  1. Costa Rican here, Tortuguero is not an island. That is really clear so I donΒ΄t think itΒ΄s a mistake but a way to make the story more intersting, but great video still!

  2. Was there 2 weeks ago. Really amazing the night tour with a guide! Great expierience and good thing to raise awareness. Highly recommended!
    Go turtles, go! πŸ˜‰

  3. This one is pretty shitty, I feel like you wasted a lot of time screwing around instead of focusing on the turtles

  4. Just as a quick question.. if only 80% usually make it out of the nests. Couldn't the team help protect from predators and even help them all the the water?

    Or is that not the goal?

    Just wondered that's all x

  5. Couldn't they place the babies into pools so they could grow bigger and stronger before realising them into the ocean????…

  6. There's a reason they lay so many eggs. I agree they shouldn't be pouched but other than that, don't ef with Mother Nature. Always an unintended consequence.

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