Subject: Sea Turtle extinction. NOT GLOBAL WARMING!
This email is being circulated that calls for a stop to a supposed "attack against nature" on the beaches of Costa Rica claims that the series of attached photographs depict crowds of people digging up and stealing turtle eggs that they will later sell.
The photographs below are genuine, but they do not depict the illegal poaching of turtle eggs. In fact, the egg harvest shown in the photographs is a perfectly legal and strictly controlled event that is managed by the Costa Rican government and been in operation since the 1980's. Far from being an "attack against nature", the egg harvest is an integral part of a long term conservation program that has resulted in a significant increase in the successful hatchings of Olive Ridley Turtles.
costa-rica-turtle-harvest-1.jpg [ 23.58 KiB | Viewed 527 times ]
Click on this link for slide show. http://www.dirtdoctor.com/organic/garde ... n/id/3696/ Logan Garrett reports: There's more to the story here.
As a way to control illegal poaching, the local government (in Ostional at least) sells the first batch of eggs to the residents (to sell and sometimes eat) because those eggs usually get destroyed by the second and third fleets of mothers anyway. Part of the profits goes to local schools and environmental awareness programs and part helps low income families survive. The eggs sell for a lot of money and the area in incredibly poor - egg selling is the best job around. It's not perfect but it's what towns have done to maintain order and teach the community about the turtles. I thought it was horrible at first but now think it's a decent deal.
It's pretty weird that you just got this (email) - I worked my first shift last night (I think those pictures are from Ostional) and it was AMAZING. I went out with the project leader at 10pm and watched the moms dig holes and drop their eggs. Each one laid just over 100 eggs. We measured the shells and flippers and tagged them to track their journey. Pretty crazy to witness.
Google Arribada in Ostional for some nicer pics than these. Didn't mean to preach but wanted you to know the other side. P.S. -- I need to correct what I wrote, people are allowed to freely collect the eggs during the first 48 hours of the arribada (when all the mothers come onto the beach), the government doesn't sell them. Update 11/02/10