Leatherback Numbers Erroneous, Biologist Says

March 31, 2006

Biology expert Freddy Pacheco has contested the veracity of a statement released by the Center of Tropical Science (CCT) last week indicating the numbers of leatherback turtles that nested in Playa Grande, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste, doubled during the 2005-06 nesting season (TT, March 24).

In a statement released March 24 by the Universidad Nacional (UNA) in Heredia, north of San José, UNA researcher Pacheco objects to the consecutive yearly comparison in the number of nesting turtles.

“From a biological point of view, it is impossible to think that from one year to the next the number of nesting females can be compared, because it is known that turtles that nest one year, are not the same ones that have nested in at least the past two years,” he said in the statement.

The biologist added that it is “unthinkable” that an increase in the number of nesting leatherbacks could have resulted from conservationist efforts in the area.

The 107 leatherbacks that reportedly arrived at Playa Grande from Oct. 1, 2005 to March 15 should not be compared to the 55 leatherbacks recorded in the 2004-05 nesting season.

“Instead of launching false campaigns to justify their trivial work, (the 107 leatherbacks) should be compared to the 1,367 turtles that nested there 15 years ago.

Only that way will the necessary awareness be raised to fight for their survival,” Pacheco said.

However, Center of Tropical Science Executive Director Enrique Ramírez told The Tico Times the results of their turtle studies are purely scientific.

 

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