Programs & Projects shortly WIDECAST Costa Rica is currently working on both coasts of Costa Rica.
On the Pacific coast, our work focuses on the Dulce Gulf area in the
south. There, we are working on three different beaches. In Sombrero and
Platanares Beaches the work mainly concentrates on Nesting Monitoring
and Protection activities of Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) and Eastern
Pacific Green turtles (Chelonia mydas). Also, these two beaches are being
included in our multinational project, in the monitoring of climate change
impacts on sea turtle nesting beaches. In Blanca Beach we opened our
Rescue Center, where we treat, rehabilitate and finally release injured or
sick sea turtles. We are also working on an In-Water study, as well we
work on a Mangrove reforestation program in Blanca Beach. (Read more)
On the Caribbean coast we recently opened our second Rescue Center at
Pacuare Beach, where we also do Nesting Monitoring and Protection activities,
mainly of Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) and Green Sea Turtles
(Chelonia mydas), and, sometimes, of the rare Hawksbill Sea Turtles. This
project works hand in hand with La Tortuga Feliz, a local non profit organization.
Our Binational Project in 2011 involved two Costa Rican beaches (Moin
and Cahuita) and one beach in Panama, San San. The work mainly consisted
in Nesting Monitoring and Protection activities, as major beach Clean-
Ups, and most important, sharing experiences and knowledge. (Read
The Multinational Project with Venezuela, Colombia, Cuba and Costa
Rica consists in sharing knowledge, monitoring of climate change impacts
on nesting beaches and economic alternatives for comunity members.
• Sombrero and Platanares
• Blanca Beach
• P acuare Beach
• Panama - Costa Rica
• Venezuela - Colombia -
Cuba - Costa Rica
STAFF NEWS & CONTACT
Platanares Beach & Sombrero Beach
This project started in 2010 and is located at the Dulce Gulf entrance.
This area is considered to be the most important foraging
area for Pacific Green Turtles in Costa Rica. It is surrounded by
different kinds of beaches, mangroves & estuaries, representing also
a very important Hawksbill nesting area.
The two beaches concentrate at least 70% of the nesting of the populations
of the sea turtles aforementioned. During 2011 47 Hawksbill
nests and 15 Pacific Green Sea Turtle nests were protected, with a
success rate of 89.1 % for Hawksbill nests and 78.9% for Pacific
Green Sea Turtle nests.
10 small workshops with local schools and 2 training workshops
with members of local authorities, WIDECAST volunteers and
staff, local conservation stakeholders and local hotels' employees,
This project is also part of the multinational project, in which
among other objectives, climate change impacts are being monitored.
On Blanca Beach we are doing several projects. One of these is the
Osa Rescue and Rehabilitation Center that opened its doors at the
end of 2011. Since then we have received more than 50 sea turtles,
which we rehabilitated and released. Most of them suffered of different
traumas or epibionts.
The facilities follow international best practices. We have 9 tanks
and plan to include a hospital area to imporve veterinarian treatments.
It is to mention, that parallel to this activities, we do an in-water
study, entering habitat used by sea turtles in different life stages to
collect data about population structure, genetic origin and in-water
habitat use. This will help us to asses the types of threats that sea
turtles are exposed to in this area. We capture them, tag them, take
biometric data and some samples.
Climate Change and Human Impacts
To record the
have been installed
Sombrero Beach, in representative sites, where
Hawksbill and Pacific Green Sea Turtles use to
nest. These data are being recorded for an evalutation
of climate change impacts in a long-term research.
However, first results showed very unstable
temperatures in areas with human impacts as coconut
plantations or grass areas (bright blue line)
compared with natural vegetation (red line). Temperatures
measured on Sombrero Beach let presume
that the hatchlings were mainly males.
A major concern regarding these results, is the future
survival of sea turtles, both facing climate
change and human impacts together. Nowadays a
lot of beaches are altered by humans, taking away
the buffer capacity of the natural ecosystems and
putting in danger sea turtle nests, as they are exposed
to abrupt and extreme changes of the temperature.
This will affect sea turtles' sex ratio and the
success rate of hatchlings.
Also, we have a mangrove reforestation project, in partnership
with AS OMANGLE , a local grassroot organizaSea
Turtle Health & Rehabilitation Workshop
Reserva Playa Tortuga, a non profit organization, organized a "Sea Turtle
Health and Rehabilitation Workshop". The field practice of this workshop
was done in our Rescue and Rehabilitation Center of Playa Blanca since we
receive groups with educational purposes as well. Two WIDECAST members
participated in this workshop. A total of25 participants were recorded.
The main purpose of it, was to provide important knowledge about sea
turtle's anatomy and how to act in a emergency situation. Also, part of the
workshop included how to take blood and tissue samples among other
exams, and what to do to rehabilitate sea turtles.
During the practice, we provided 7 sea turtles for teaching purposes. Also, a
demonstrative exploration in the water was done and for this, a Hawksbill
was catched with a safe method and afterwards released.
"Friendship" was released!
We are happy about the release of "Friendship", a Pacific Green Sea Turtle
(Chelonia mydas agassizi), that has been tagged with a Satellite Transmitter.
We released her in october 2011 . ..::::====--==---===--===--'"
During 3 month she was transmitting
information about her location.
She stayed in the Dulce Gulf
during these 3 month, what shows
us the importance of this critical
Adopt a turtle through our Adoption Program!
Protection and Conservation
Activities on Pacuare Beach
Protection and Conservation Activities on Pacuare Beach ~t-~"t-=rt
already in 2004 when this remote area was declared a biological
reserve, created by Paul Lepoutre. Since then the Project has received
support from several organizations allover the world (e.g
WWF). La Tortuga Feliz has been founded, a local non profit
organization that started to work with WIDE CAST last year, in
On this beach you will be able to work with Leatherback Sea
Turtles mainly, but there are also Green Sea Turtles and sometimes
Hawksbill Sea Turtles. Main threats for these turtles are
human poachers and beach erosion. The first threat, we are helping
to avoid through night patrols, with the construction of a
hatchery and safe releases of the hatchlings. The second threat
we are studying for a better understanding to find best practices
against this. Meanwhile we do relocate the nests into the hatchery.
Through the close involvement with the very remote village of
the area, the sea turtle conservation project provides not only a
unique opportunity to volunteers to experience a true community
-based Costa Rican conservation project, but also offers a legal
and sustainable revenue to the community.
The first turtles already arrived and we are proud to communicate
that already 20 nests are safe. However, we lost one nest to
poachers. The hatchery is under construction and will be ready
All our Field Assistants just received a intensive training of 4
days, in which important and theoretical facts, considerations on
the field, and field practices, as well as hatchery management,
were teached. Our Veterinarian, also in charge of our Rescue
Center there, did this training. We are developing this project in
partnership with ASTOP in Parismina and Paradero Ecotours in
Moin, since we all work with the same populations of sea turtles.
Pacuare Rescue and Rehabilitation Center
Did you know that ... ?
One of the reported abnormalities in hatchlings
is albinism. This means that the organism lacks
melanin and has therefore no pigmentation.
Thus, 100% albino animals have pink-redish
eyes because the blood vessels in the eyes are
As it shows on the picture above, most of the
white turtles lack only some pigments. The
hatchling above, that by the way has been released
in Pacuare Beach, has dark eyes. Turtles like
this will develop darker colours as they get older
Unfortunately, only a small porcentaje of albino
sea turtles survives, since it seems to be associated
with cranial abnormalities like malformations
of the eyes and jaws, among others. Not to
mention the high sensitivity to the sun and the
higher posibility to be discovered by a predator.
We are excited to announce the opening of the Pacuare Rescue and Rehabilitation Center since the end of January
2012. Now, by this we are able to not only protect the nesting females and their babies, but also to help injured, sick or
confiscated sea turtles by the police to regain their strengths. Thus, finally we can release them back into the ocean
where they belong.
Our volunteers, our team, La Tortuga Feliz members, and 8 tanks, will make this rescue and rehabilitation center a
success, fIlling a important gap for the survive of our Caribbean sea turtles.
This project's objective was to develop conservation
activities, which were reached through several training
workshops for local and international volunteers,
thorough Beach Clean-ups, and night patrols,
hatchery constructions and turtle tagging.
The project recorded between about 400 volunteers,
more than 1000 turtle nests of Leatherback, Hawksbill
and Green Sea Turtles, and we estimate that
close to 46.000 turtle hatchlings have been released.
We estimate that more than 200 work days were done
by volunteers during the 2011 season.
Main, Costa Rica
The Moin Beach project is being developed together with Paradero
EcOtOUfS, located nearby Port of Moin. Three years ago,
Vanessa Lizano, Head ofParadero EcOtOUf, decided to include
sea turtles to her conservation program, besides her rescue center
for all kinds of terrestrial animals. The research department
of the Paradero Ecotour is focuses in safing the biological corridors
from Moin to Tortuguero, through the sea and the Tortuguero
Now WIDECAST started
to send volunteers
and give technical advice
since last year and with
the continuing joint work
we want to reduce drastically
the nest poaching
and protect the nests
(mainly from Leatherback
Turtles but also
from Hawksbill and Green
Sea Turtles) from erosion.
Last year, more than 500
nests were recorded, mainly from Leatherbacks, and approximady
20.000 Leatherback hatchlings were released.
For this season, the hatchery is under construction. Soon it will
be ready for the first nests.
BEACH CLEAN-Ups '-~,
Around 30 km of Beach were cleaned
More than 300 Garbage Bags were filled
We collected approximately 1 TON of Garbage
Most of the Garbage consisted in PLASTIC
Nearly 400 Volunteers participated
About US$ 6.000 were generated with recycled materials
Cahuita, Costa Rica
Three species of sea turtle
(Leatherback, Hawksbill and
Green Sea Turtles) nest here,
and the forest is home to
monkies, sloths, crocodiles,
caimans, anteaters, and approximately
400 bird species.
Cahuita is a N ationalpark
and the last place in the Costa
Rican Caribbean coast
where you can find healthy
coral reefs. This is why we
developed not only conservation
and protection activities
on the beach, but we also did a In-Water Study.
This study focused on the coral reefs of Cahuita Nationalpark,
where the most important population of Hawksbill in
Costa Rica can be found.
Around 150 nests were from Leatherback, nearly 50 from
Hawksbill, and close to 10 from Green Sea Turtle.
San San Beach, Panama
San San started its volunteering program to protect the sea
turtles back in 2007. However, they do not only concentrate
their work in sea turtle protection.
The project is one of WIDE CAST's project, where economic
alternatives were introduced like for example the production
of bags made of recycled plastic bags collected on the beach.
It is remarkable that in 2010 the volunteer program generated
an income of nearly US$ 50.000 for local communty
Last year they ended the season recording a little bit more
than 250 nests. The majority from Leatherback, around 10
from Hawksbill and a little less from Green Sea Trudes.
WIDECAST Costa Rica remains in contact with this project
and is planning to receive this year, with the support of other
partners, their help to develop a workshop about the production
of the bags aforementioned, for Cuban, Venezuelan and
This multinational project has
the main purpose to join conservation,
protection and research
efforts in the region. This is
being reached through several
objectives. One is the introduction
of an innovative, economic
development on beaches of Venezuela, Cuba and Colombia, where the economic
activities of the local communities are usually based on harming sea
turtles. Train local communities in economic alternatives, based on nonconsumptive
uses of sea turtles is therefore essential, and the training of local
community members is mandatory.
Our idea of workshops about guiding at sea turtle nesting beaches and about
handcraft with waste material to produce jewellery and other utensils, has
attracted other projects - we just finished workshops in which we participated
as trainers, in a project that was financed by US AID .
To assure the sustainability of economic alternatives, it is necessary to create a
strategy. For that reason, the promotion of these economic alternatives, the
education about human impacts on sea turtles and building support for sea
turtle protection, will guarantee the trained community members a certain
independence at the end of the project.
Sharing best conservation actions to reduce sea turtle mortality, increasing
protection measures and to promote local participation in sea turtle conservation,
will contribute in the improvement of regional conservation efforts and
enable innovative data collection. Applying standardized and new techniques
will generate a scientifically important outcome, especially regarding climate
change impacts on sea turtle nesting beaches.
Improving international conservation of sea turtles in the Wider Caribbean
represents an important step forward to support the sea turtle conservationists
in each country, providing a solid basis for the ongoing conservation efforts.
Climate Change Research
We began the collection of a significant scientific
database applying innovative techniques to monitor
the climate change impacts on sea turtle nesting
beaches. We trained and equiped all Country
Directors to apply properly the Global Warming
Monitoring Kit, clinometers (for Beach profiling)
and Data-Loggers (Temperature measurements).
Nesting Monitoring & Protection Activities
Venezuela: Nearly 70 leatherback turtle females
were tagged and around 40 re-migrant females
from previous years were recorded. More than
5.000 hatchlings were released.
Colombia: Protected around 20 nests (from
Hawksbill, Leatherback and Loggerhead).
Cuba: Nearly 800 nests were protected here.
Mainly Green Turtle nests and Loggerhead nests,
but also a very significant amount of Hawksbill
Workshops about economic alternatives will be
A diagnosis of threats to sea turtle and critical habitat, and trends in these, for Cuba,
Venezuela and Columbia, is still in process, since we decided to do this along 2 years.
The II International Symposium of Caribbean Sea Turtles, in Colombia,
During 5 days, workshops, speeches, presentations and practices were done.
Dr. Marianne Fish, specialist in Global Warming of WWF participated as a special
guest and held a very informative and important workshop about Global Warming
and its impacts on sea turtles.
All partners of the project were there, other NGO's, students, local authorities and
others participated. Totally we registered in average a daily participation of nearly
Also, during the symposium we held the coordination meeting, where we shared best
practices, and we standardized the techniques, which are in the Technical Report Nr.
9 "Manual of Best Practices for Safeguarding Sea Turtle Nesting Beaches" ofChoi &
VOLUNTEER CONTACT INFORMATION
Tibas Office Address:
If arriving by Taxi, show this address to the Taxi Driver:
"Tibas, 200 metros norte y 25 oeste de la Municipalidad de Tibas, casa a
mano izquierda, con rotulos de tortugas"
If you have any questions, please contact our Volunteers
Coordinator Suvi. She will be glad to answer all your questions.
Tel.: (00506) 2241-7431
Facebook: Widecast VolunteerCoordinator
Support us otherwise and check out our Wish List:
http: //www.latinamericanseaturtles.org/ wishlist.php
The idea of working to help safe the endangered
Sea Turtles is very romantic. As we all
know, the reality is very different.
When you decided to help us, volunteering in
one or more of our projects, or donating,
YOU made the difference!
Without the help of people and organizations
like you, from all over the world, conservation
would not be possible.
The Sea Turtles and Local Communties thank
you for that and hope to welcome you again!
Special Thanks to our Donors
USAID, NEAQ, Allemal Foundation
Whitley Fund for Nature, Ecoteach,
The Humane Society International,
The People's Trust for Endangered Species,
The Body Shop Foundation, FECOPT.
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