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Struggling sea turtle program seeks funding

It’s been almost a year since the murder of sea turtle conservationist Jairo Mora on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, but turtle conservation groups across Costa Rica are still reeling from a heightened perception of danger. Now, lacking the funds and manpower to continue as normal, one sea turtle program is seeking help elsewhere.

“We have probably seen a 50 percent decrease in the number of volunteers,” said Daniela Moeller, the head of Latin American Sea Turtles (formerly Widecast, the organization Mora had worked for when he was killed). “With fewer volunteers, there are fewer patrols and less money to hire on locals.”

LAST’s project, which is based north of the Pacuare River mouth, was named a finalist for a voting contest sponsored by the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) and National Geographic Germany. The contest, now in its third year, chooses conservation projects from around the world to vie for votes from the public. The project with the most votes will receive $35,000 in funding.

LAST’s sea turtle conservation project is the only project from Costa Rica in the running. The six other programs include projects for trail development in Georgia, tiger conservation in Sumatra, forest conservation on the island of Bonaire, community environmental management in Madagascar and leopard conservation in Armenia.

Cast your vote here on the EOCA’s website. Voting closes Monday at 4 a.m.

Contact Lindsay Fendt at

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I still don’t understand how this organization knowingly sent unsuspecting volunteers to patrol the beach at night time after employees had been confronted by armed criminals on the same beach. But instead of ceasing operations involving foreign volunteers they continued to charge hefty fees for these young female volunteers to continue expose themselves walking on a beach no local would tread at that hour of night. Did they provide any insurance for the volunteers including Jairo Mora? Did they pay his social fees (CCSS & INS ) ? Does Widecast and Miss Lizano bear no responsibility at all for their actions acting directly against the best interests of both their employee and volunteers? The organization then sets off a huge media blitz about the incident and now they wonder why volunteers are not knocking down their door to participate? The scenario would be laughable if it wasn’t so sad.

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el grupo conscientes ! Nosotros estamos concientes !!! Gracias !

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Fernando Vega

We are still only second and 2700 votes away from winning!!

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