|A project offered by:||Working Abroad|
|Based in:||Ostional, Costa Rica|
|Working with:||Olive Ridley Sea Turtles
|Activities including:||Sea Turtle surveys including night patrols
Supporting researchers with turtle tagging
Measuring nesting adult turtles
Beach clean ups
Sports and cultural activities
|Duration:||from 1 week|
|*Please note that pricing may be subject to change (check with operator)|
The project works directly with the Olive Ridley turtles nesting in Ostional and our volunteers will frequently be lucky enough to witness first hand the seldom-seen spectacular biological event of the arribadas – one of nature’s genuine wonders. Thousands of Olive Ridley sea turtles exit the sea simultaneously, bumping into and crawling over each other as they attempt to ascend the beach to lay their eggs. Initially a few hundred turtles arrive, followed by a steady stream of females for the next three to seven days (commonly during the last quarter of the moon before New Moon). The Olive Ridley sea turtles (and its Atlantic cousin, Kemp’s Ridley turtle) are the only species to stage arribadas which are known to occur at only nine beaches worldwide: in Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras, Surinam, Orissa in India and Costa Rica. Of these locations, Ostional beach is considered the second most significant.
Given the large volume of Olive Ridley Sea Turtle eggs laid in the arribadas, their harvest for human consumption has become an important source of income to the Ostional community. Members of particular groups are legally allowed to collect and sell a percentage of these eggs laid within the first 36 hours of each arribada. Early harvest of eggs has no impact on population, as many initial nests are dug up and destroyed by later nesting turtles. Hatching success in Ostional is usually below 15%, which is very low when compared with almost 90% for Olive Ridley eggs at solitary nesting beaches. Although the cause of low hatchling success is not fully clear yet, it may result from the large number of eggs destroyed in an arribada, high temperatures and bacteria and fungus contamination.
The purpose of the Ostional Olive Ridley Turtle Conservation Project is to determine and understand, using robust and consistent statistical methods for data analysis: nesting ecology, population numbers, hatching success, hatchling production, mortality of hatchlings and sex ratio results at both solitary and mass nesting events. Understanding the population fluctuations is crucial to design effective conservation and management strategies for a successful sea turtle conservation program.
Go to Working Abroad’s website to find out more about this project.