Hawksbill Turtle Nests Hatch on Pacific Coast

September 30, 2005

LAST weekend, two hawksbill turtle nests hatched successfully at Playa Caletas in the northwestern province of Guanacaste, according to a statement from the Sea Turtle Restoration Program (PRETOMA).Hawksbill turtle populations, in critical danger of extinction, have declined dramatically because poachers and hunters steal their eggs and hunt them for their ornate carapace, used to make jewelry, sunglasses and combs.On Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, hawksbill turtles are “so rare that witnessing a nesting female is an extraordinarily unusual event,” the statement said.PRETOMA, which has monitored sea turtles at Playa Caletas since 2002, noted the unexpected arrival of a hawksbill turtle in July that deposited 127 eggs at the beach.The turtle was immediately tagged and its eggs transferred to a hatchery for protection.Three days later, the same procedure followed the unexpected arrival of another hawksbill that laid 103 eggs.On Sept. 15, 63 days after the incubation of the first nest began, 100% of the eggs hatched successfully and 127 baby turtles were delivered into the ocean. Sept. 17 is the birthday of the second batch, when 85% of the turtles from the second nest, 89 turtles in all, survived and were liberated at sea.PRETOMA is working alongside the Ministry of the Environment and Energy (MINAE) to declare Caletas and its surounding areas a National Wildlife Refuge.Also this week, the Public Security Ministry announced the Coast Guard has released 6,260 babies of threatened turtle species from captivity and saved 1,717 eggs so far this year in efforts to crack down on poaching on the Caribbean coasts.

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