Run in conjunction with the Sea Turtle Conservancy and Costa Rican Ministry of Environment, Energy and Telecommunications, MINAET, this project allows participants the opportunity to observe nesting and hatching sea turtles in their natural habitat while making a contribution to their preservation, gaining valuable conservation knowledge and skills in the process.
Every year from April to October mother turtles come to Tortuguero beach to lay their eggs. Leatherbacks and Hawksbills tend to come earlier in the season, whereas green turtles tend to arrive later. After an intensive training program, including learning about turtle biology, behaviour, and global abundance as well as research methods used on the project, you will form part of a group of participants conducting night-time patrols on the tropical beach looking for nesting mother sea turtles, their tracks and whether any sea turtles have been preyed upon by jaguars. In the event of finding a mother turtle during your patrol, you may assist the GVI Patrol Leader with measuring the turtle, counting the eggs being laid, looking for previous tags and distinctive markings and recording the data. This will help researchers with determining the number of turtles returning to the beach, and the number of new ones, how they are spread out across the nesting season, and how migrations between beaches work. During morning patrols, you will work with other participants to identify nests. Depending on the season, you may also be lucky enough to see and record the juvenile turtles emerging from the nest and record data on hatchling success, poaching rates, and mortality rates. When not conducting surveys, the rest of your time will be spent at our base, processing data and getting to know your fellow participants from all around the world.
Even though turtle conservation will be a main part of your activities, you might also have the opportunity to conduct jaguars and aquatic birds research, as well as carrying out biological assessment surveys of the area, contributing to long-term conservation efforts along Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast. In the process you will gain an holistic understanding of the rainforest ecosystem and master skills that will aid you in pursuing a career in conservation.
To find out more about this project or to apply please visit the GVI website.
For a full list of the amazing projects on offer with GVI please visit their Marine Expedition Page!