Estacion Las Tortugas
In 2000 Stanley Rodriguez, founded Estación Las Tortugas (The Turtle Station) in an effort to help save the population of sea turtles that visited Mondonguillo beach. This beach lies between the Mondonguillo Lagoon in the north, bordering with the Pacuare Nature Reserve, and the Urpiano Lagoon in the south, bordering with the Urpiano Lagoon Turtle Project. The beach protected consists of three kilometres of land, and the station is located about 25 kilometres (as the crow flies) north of Moin, on the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica. The area where the actual station is situated today used to be a coconut plantation and the beach was a poacher hideout where all the turtles visiting the area were poached for either their eggs, their meat or/and their shell. The poaching rate throughout the years has diminished quite drastically after initiating the protection of the beach and from 100% of poaching to begin with, it has fallen to less than 5%. This beach was and continues to be mainly a Leatherback Turtle nesting beach, but Green and Hawksbill turtles do visit in smaller numbers. Sea turtles have adapted for over 100 million years, but are now on the verge of extinction due to many human factors including poachers, pollution, and development.
International student groups visit Estación Las Tortugas each year through its main provider EcoTeach, and other ecotourism companies, along with hundreds of local and national Costa Rican schoolchildren and University students, together with national and international scout groups. Students who visit the project learn about the ecology and conservation of sea turtles through educational talks and activities. They experience the life of a volunteer field worker by taking an active role in patrolling the beach at night to support the station's staff, helping to collect data concerning the nesting turtles, the protection of their nests and their hatchlings.
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