Guanacaste Hosting New Study on the Effects of Storks on Turtle Eggs

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    The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – New scientific research highlights the predation of turtle eggs by storks (Mycteria americana) in Playa Ostional, Guanacaste, Costa Rica. This study aims to obtain characteristics of its predatory behavior.

    The study by Joanna Burger and Michael Gochfeld, researchers at Rutgers University in New Jersey, USA, was presented on January 31 of this year and approved on April 14.

    According to data issued, one in three storks will feed on a turtle nest. In addition, 87% of storks were within five meters of a nest of turtle eggs or hatchlings obtained for food.

    “The storks had little effect on the success of feeding turtles in Ostional due to the large number of females, the small population of storks, and the fact that most turtle hatchlings emerge at night when the storks were not hunting turtles,” quoted the study.

    These findings are seconded by Rodrigo Morera, biologist for the Community Development Association of Ostional in Guanacaste, who explains that predation of turtle does not have a great effect on the development and birth of nesting species.

    “It is normal and common. Here we lose between 70% and 90% of the eggs naturally. We’re talking about 70 million eggs, which make the storks insignificant,” provided the biologist.

    Morera said that when speaking of natural loss, they are strengthening protection efforts, which are also focused on predators.

    “We have six days of the community watching the turtles, for predators, including storks not eating the hatchlings. These births are huge and millions of turtles are born,” said Morera.

    The investigation revealed that an average of two storks gets food in 30 seconds with exposed eggs in nests, compared with four nests with newborn baby turtle. Most storks feed on turtle nests exposed in the banks of streams (60%) or by tides (23%).

    The Costa Rica News (TCRN)

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