Sea Turtle Nesting Season Begins in Ostional

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    The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – The Kemp’s ridley turtle nesting area in Ostional Guanacaste officially began its laying season on Sunday, reported the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC).

    The beginning of the mass nesting of turtles was reported early Sunday morning and authorities alerted the population of the event which starts in June and lasts until December. In Costa Rica this phenomenon also occurs in Nancite beach in Guanacaste.

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    “The Development Association of Ostional (ADIO) is the sole authority for the extraction and marketing of ridley eggs, but this requires that the marketing authorization is performed using labeled and sealed packages. Furthermore, any bag with eggs must be properly supported, issued and signed by the ADIO and the Costa Rican Institute of Fishing and Aquaculture (Incopesca),” said SINAC.

    The Kemp’s ridley is the smallest of the sea turtles; adults of this species measure just 55 to 70 centimeters long from shell tip to tip and the total weight of the reptile is 35 to 45 kilograms. They each sexual maturity between 10 and 15 years and probably live about 50 or 60 years, yet are reproductively active for only a little over 21 years.

    “The average nest depth is about 45 cm and the average number of eggs laid per clutch is 105 eggs. The incubation period ranges from 46 to 65 days. Hatchlings measure 2.5 cm to 4.0 cm in carapace length,” said the conservation organization, Pretoma.

    The Ostional turtle arrivals have been constant since 1959, but it was 10 years later when the Costa Rican scientific community began to study this occurrence. Therefore, the work of the ADIO is supported by a law that allows them to extract and market ridley eggs.

    Interestingly, most ridley arrivals occur during the lunar phase, waxing crescent. However, during winter their arrivals are much greater.

    “We have a daily monitoring of the reproductive behavior of the turtles. The project has its scientific basis, is the law and it has a lot of support from organizations,” said Rodrigo Morera, biologist for ADIO.

    Morera said that every five years an analysis of the behavior of the species is made. This allows them to see which stocks are doing well and what needs to be corrected.

    The communal work in Ostional has captivated international media, like the BBC, which ran a television report last year highlighting the project.

    The Costa Rica News (TCRN)

    San Jose, Costa Rica

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