World Sea Turtle Day -16 June 2020
Today marks World Sea Turtle Day and serves as a great opportunity for us to keep in touch with friends who are working to conserve Sea Turtles around the world.
One such initiative, featured on our Marine Lives page, is the Osa In Water Project organised by LAST (Latin American Sea Turtles) at Golfo Dulce on the South Pacific Coast of Costa Rica.
The volunteer-based project is studying Hawksbill and Pacific Green turtles as well as conducting reforestation of mangroves ecosystem and monitoring of seagrass beds. Also included in the project is a basic rescue centre treating emergencies and providing first aid for sea turtles, involving amputations, caused by fishing lines, as well as hook removal and boat strikes.
Sarah Ghys, the new coordinator for the Osa In Water project sends this message:
If I were to choose one word for 2020, it would be: unexpected. The year started out great, with some exciting new developments, a change in head biologist for the project and lots of work for our research team and volunteers with the sea turtles, mangroves, sea grass monitoring and helping our community’s recycling centre. And then, Covid-19 happened.
With a two-month gap in sea turtle monitoring due to insufficient funds caused by the pandemic, we have spent 162 hours at sea monitoring sea turtles during 27 sessions so far. In total, we have caught 39 turtles: 18 hawksbills and 21 greens.
Out of the 18 hawksbills, 13 were recaptured and 5 were new individuals, bringing the total number of individuals in our database to 238. The majority (14) of hawksbills were juvenile with an undetermined sex, 3 were females and 1 was a male. The average curved carapace length was 55.4 cm and the hawksbills weighed between 4kg and 43kg.
For the greens, 19 out of the 21 were recaptures, while 2 were new captures, bringing our total number of individuals to 694. 71% of individuals were females and 29% were juvenile. The average curved carapace length was 79.3 cm and the turtles weighed between 34kg and 80kg!
For our mangrove restoration project, we spent countless hours working in the nursery, giving some much needed TLC to the growing plants, especially around full moons, which is when the tides are highest and unfortunately reach the nursery, causing some destruction! So far, we have also planted around 190 red mangrove and 160 tea mangrove saplings in the field, which we will monitor over the course of two years.
For our team in Osa, work goes on and we hope that very soon we can welcome groups of volunteers again to help us with our various projects.
The Conservation Foundation is also happy to report that Magali Marion, one of a group of students we helped to attend an international conference on Sea Turtles last year and featured on our Marine Lives pages as a volunteer for the Osa in Water Project is now studying for her PhD. Magali reports, “I am working towards my PhD, which was the goal I wanted to reach and one of the main reason I wanted to participate in ISTS in Charleston (and the travel grant certainly helped to start this new chapter so Yay!)”