By the time scientists began counting, the number of green turtles arriving on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast had dwindled to just 3,000, and there were more here than anywhere else. Efforts to re-populate the coasts have been very successful. Today, many more visitors who travel to Costa Rica will see the species, when about 20,000 of the species come to shore to nest. Thanks to the efforts of Carr and others, a whole national park, Tortuguero, has been established to protect the green turtles as well as the leatherbacks and hawksbills that use the critical nesting sites here. The park has become one of the country’s most popular attractions for visitors who travel to Costa Rica.
Visitors on the Costa Rica tours to the park may visit the John H. Phipps Biological Station where the organization and its volunteers weigh, measure and tag the turtles as well as monitor their nesting activity. The H. Clay Frick Natural History Visitors Information Center here contains a museum dedicated to turtle conservation. The complex is located just north of the park, fifty miles north of the city of Puerto Limon.
In addition to its work on behalf of sea turtles in Costa Rica, the Conservancy conducts research and participates in advocacy projects and education programs on turtle species in neighboring Panama, throughout the Caribbean north to Florida. Its Sea Turtle Migration Tracking Education Program records the movements of sea turtles by satellite. Sea turtles aren’t the organization’s only cause. The STC is also involved in conservation efforts to save the bird species of Costa Rica.
The Sea Turtle Conservancy is based in Gainesville, Florida and receives funding from various charitable foundations, memberships, its Tour de Turtles migration event and an Adopt-a-Turtle program as well as merchandise sales. For more information about the Sea Turtle Conservancy, go to www.conserveturtles.org, a source for this article. The site contains plenty of information for both adults and children.