The effects of climate change are increasingly evident in various parts of the planet. In Costa Rica, the impact is evident due to the high temperatures, the changes in the behavior of the rains and now the decrease in the births of sea turtles.
Experts from the APM Terminals Turtle Conservation Program, which provides protection to sea turtle eggs and releases hatchlings on the beach that runs from the mouth of the Moín River to the mouth of the Matina River, have determined that this year The number of turtle births and releases in Moín will reach 10,000, while in 2022 about 30,000 turtles will be released.
Climate change and its repercussions such as rising sea levels, high sea temperatures, and changes in migration and feeding patterns are causing fewer newborns.
“There is a decrease (in turtle births) on all nesting beaches from the Guajira Peninsula, in Colombia, to southern Nicaragua. “We are monitoring data on the excesses caused and associated with climate change, such as hot waters in the North Atlantic that produce less food, hot beaches with temperatures above 34° Celsius and infertile nests,” said DidiherChacón, specialist in Marine Sciences and director of the Latin American Sea Turtles Association.
Climate change has factors that are threatening the development of fertile eggs and the births of leatherback, green and hawksbill turtles. Among which are:
Sea turtles have sex determination that depends on temperature, which means that during incubation it is defined whether the hatchlings are male or female, and due to the increase there are more female turtles, decreasing the possibility of reproduction.
Sea level rise
Rising sea levels due to melting glaciers and thermal expansion of the oceans are causing the loss of nesting and feeding habitats for sea turtles. Nesting beaches can erode or flood, reducing the space available for turtles to nest.
Changes in migration patterns
Marine species depend on ocean currents and water temperatures for their migrations. Climate change may alter these patterns, which may affect food availability and sea turtle migration routes.
Impact on food availability
Climate change may also influence the availability and distribution of sea turtle prey species. Changes in water temperatures and ocean acidification can affect marine ecosystems, which in turn can affect the availability and quality of food for sea turtles.
People interested in participating in the project as visitors or volunteers can write to [email protected]
There are actions to contribute to the protection of marine species.Some examples: take nests in coolers, but you have to know how to do and handle that, that is an extreme solution. And also use mechanisms where we can mitigate the effects of temperature. “If we manage to lower the temperature we could have an increase in neonates, we must repair the effects of what is happening to the planet,” said the biologist.
Chacón assures that people can support with actions such as: not consuming turtle eggs, joining volunteer programs to protect nests, cleaning beaches, reducing their contribution to the emission of greenhouse gases, recycling to reduce demand of plastics and raising awareness among new generations about these measures.