ASVO Costa Rica

One of the projects we’re proud to be supporting as the Global Wildlife Rescue Project is ASVO Costa Rica. They’re a project dedicated to protecting sea turtles in Costa Rica. I had the privilege of visiting one of their sites back in September 2019.

I actually saw my first sea turtle the year before. I was in Tortuguero, a small village that’s only accessible by boat or plane on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. It is a mission to get there – but well worth it. There is one main reason why people make this effort to get to this village. Sea Turtles. Four of the eight species of sea turtle in the world come to the beaches here, at various times of the year, to lay their eggs on the beaches. Green sea turtles, leatherbacks, hawksbill and loggerhead can be seen – depending on when you visit. Most of the female sea turtles follow an instinct to return to the beach that they hatched on.

I was there in September 2018 and had the honour of witnessing a female green sea turtle lay her eggs on the beach, and cover with sand (including throwing sand on me in the process) and then make her way back into the ocean. Whilst we trekked back through the jungle that backed onto the beach to get back into the boat to take us back to our hotel, volunteers were on hand on the beach to monitor all the sites where turtles had laid eggs that night so in the morning they could be dug up and taken somewhere safe to be reburied until they were ready to hatch 50-70 days later. 

The protected nests – allowing the turtle eggs a safe place to incubate and hatch

Fast forward 12 months and I found myself back in Costa Rica. This time I was on the Pacific coast in a small town called Montezuma. The beach there is another place where sea turtles are known to nest – and where the eggs are kept safe until they are ready to hatch. I timed my visit perfectly to see a group of around 120 hatchlings get released into the ocean. Once the hatchlings had been gathered together they were taken down to the beach to allow them to be released – crossing the sand themselves before getting that first taste of salt water. It was a beautiful sight that touched me greatly. I wanted to do something to help more turtles reach this stage

Hatchlings are collected together and taken down on to the beach ready for release

The team behind this release were ASVO Costa Rica. The organisation works across a number of sites in Costa Rica including Tortuguero, Nosara and Montezuma. Sea turtle eggs are prone to being predated – either by other animals looking for food, or by people who consider them a delicacy. ASVO have spotters on the beaches where turtles are known to lay eggs. As a female comes ashore to lay her eggs, she is protected and left to do so in peace. Once she’s back in the ocean again, the eggs are dug up and then carefully moved to a protected part of the beach where they are reburied to be left to incubate and hatch in peace. 

It is estimated  that over the past 120-140 years, the numbers of green sea turtles have declined by up to 67%. Projects like the ones ASVO run are essential in helping to increase numbers, ensuring more and more hatchlings make it into the ocean each year. That’s why we’re proud to support their work.

Hatchling sea turtles getting their first taste of the salt water of the Pacific Ocean

I have seen first hand the incredible work that this project does. If you feel inspired to support them too – please follow the link below to donate. It’s only with the generous support from people like you that these projects are able to continue doing the amazing work that they do. Thank you.

Please support our work

The Global Wildlife Rescue Project is a registered charity in England & Wales. Registered charity number 1188557.

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