In Costa Rica we protect four endangered marine turtle species, including the Eastern
Pacific Green and Black, Hawksbill, Leatherback and Olive Ridley.
Using in-situ and translocation techniques,
we protect marine turtle nests from poachers and hatch thousands of marine turtles every year, thus helping secure the natural
cycle of life on the beach.
Without the use of a hatchery, we work to protect the turtles nesting cycle in their
natural habitat and work to protect and study natural conditions. Our efforts to protect nesting habitat include intensive research on marine plastic debris in nesting/foraging areas
for our turtles.
STF collaborated with the University of Guelph on a marine plastic survey and removal
in Costa Rica during the 2012 season. University of Guelph volunteers contributed greatly to our removal of over 17,000 marine
debris items from our turtle habitat during the 2011/2012 nesting season on Punta Pargos. We removed these items that would
otherwise become part of the turtle food chain in the nesting and foraging areas surrounding Punta Pargos.
The key to our success in Costa Rica is
in securing nests from poachers while also educating and working with surrounding communities on all aspects of conservation. These
are important steps toward changing the embedded cultural practice of eating sea turtle eggs. Every year we move toward
our goal of reestablishing and increasing the population of endangered marine turtles that nest on Punta Pargos.
In Oregon we visit
schools to give marine turtle conservation presentations, and we make public appearances with “Turtle Man” and
"Isabel" (our life-size Leatherback model), characters who are creating a tremendous amount of public awareness
of the need for marine turtle conservation in foraging areas such as the ones along the west coast of the U.S.
We have also established a Sea Turtle Hotline for people to report sea turtle sightings in the Northeastern Pacific foraging areas.
Please call 1-503-739-1446 or e-mail us at email@example.com to report a sea turtle sighting in the Northeastern Pacific Ocean or on any Canadian, Washington,
Oregon or California Beaches.To find out more information please go to Projects - PacificNW page.
STF has also
operated marine micro plastic surveys on Oregon beaches since 2008 and has developed a system for beach removal
of micro plastics as small as 100 micrometers in size (the size of a grain of sand). Research conducted at the University
of Tokyo Department of Agriculture and Geochemistry, combined with STF data from several years of beach surveys in Oregon,
has allowed us to locate, remove and measure the potential contamination from persistent organic pollutants (POPs) persquare meter of beach.
STF’s recent collaboration with Northwestern University
in Chicago is leading to the development of devices and technology that can passively and perpetually clean contaminants and
debris from the ocean and other bodies of water. Part of the team from Northwestern assisted with our Oregon beach survey
research in August of 2012. Our STF Oregon Marine Plastic Response Team is growing, but we need more volunteers.
In other words, we’re active on several fronts, we welcome your help,
and we hope you’ll call or email.
|Protecting a nesting Leatherback's nest.
|Joseph and James Beshore with Old Rosie.
|Marc Ward - One more makes it!!
|STF Marine Turtle Monitoring Team.
|Marc Ward, Beto Salazar, Nancy " Tank" Tankersely, Joey Beshore, William Aguilar( El Toro) 2012.
STF would like to give a big "thanks" to the local divers that helped
us monitor the reef at Lagartillo during the 2011/2012 season. By building a strong alliance with these local divers,
we gathered important information and strengthened the overall conservation effort on Punta Pargos.
The divers working with us on monofilament survey and removal managed to release five marine turtles
over the course of the nesting season, turtles that had been entangled in monofilament fishing line. One had a large
rapala fishing lure in its jaw and was wrapped up like a mummy in over ten meters of monofilament line. Bernardo Ordonez
managed to remove the lure and cut the line away. This turtle was in good shape and was very lucky to have encountered
Marcos Rodriguez conducted a similar release when he encountered
two tangled marine turtles but could only manage to catch one and cut the line free. The turtle he saved had its head
and one front limb entangled together. Unfortunately, the second turtle swam off before Marcos could
Alonzo Hernandez also encountered a marine turtle
with monofilament fishing line wrapped so tightly around her left front limb it had cut off blood circulation, and the limb
had become swollen and infected. Alonzo managed to cut away the line and free the turtle. Although it was a deep
wound, marine turtles are reptiles and can lose a whole limb and continue to live.
Without our help, however, entangled turtles can weaken or die, as happens to many seaturtles and thousands
of seabirds per year. Our monofilament operations at Lagartillo Reef have removed over ten thousand monofilament items
from this foraging area during the last two years, significantly reducing the threat to marine life and invigorating the reef
The divers' payoff included the best lobster season
in memory. Our divers love us because we protect the marine turtle eggs, but they also see the benefit of our work on
the reef in real time. Every diver I talk with has told me the reef is coming back to life: lobster was so plentiful
that after one week the market was flooded and the divers had a hard time selling the huge hauls they were getting until the
market leveled off again. Everyone who has watched our diligent operations at Lagartillo Reef is seeing on-the-ground
results and a revitalized marine eco-system.