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Thousands of Sea Turtles Scared Off by Tourists
22/Sep/2015
Thousands of Sea Turtles Scared Off by Tourists

During the weekend, a major group of tourists in Costa Rica has interrupted the yearly breeding and nesting process of sea turtles on a local beach, causing wildlife authorities to start an investigation related to environmental violations.



Thousands of tourists along Optional Beach on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast scared off hundreds of thousands of olive ridley sea turtles, crawling out to shore to lay their eggs. The tourists were capturing selfies and mounting their children on the turtles’ backs, as a result of which the ancient reptiles turned around and retreat into the sea.

The olive ridley nesting season goes from August through October. It coincides with Costa Rica’s rainy season, providing a natural barrier that protects the turtles.

At that time, the beach is all covered by the flood tide of the swollen Nosara River, blocking access on bridges. This makes access to the beach nearly impossible. But this year, due to low rainfall caused by El Niño, the river remained almost dried-up, making passage to the beach easy.

Even in such circumstances, the turtles made their way through and laid some eggs maybe at night. After tourists left the site, Mr. Méndez, deputy director of the Tempisque Conservation Area, and his team discovered more than expected eggs.

He said, “A tornado can be happening, and they will continue to deposit the eggs, carve it out, nest, and go back to sea”.

Generally, Olive ridley turtles inhabit in warm, tropical waters, including the Indian and Pacific Oceans, from India to New Zealand. Besides, the marine creatures have also been spotted in the waters off the western coast of Africa and the eastern coast of South America, especially in Northern Brazil, Guyana and Venezuela.

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