The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – About 200 turtle eggs are rescued every night by the National Guard (SNG) on different beaches in the province of Limón.
In just two months, the environmental unit of SNG rescued more than 2,000 leatherback turtle eggs that were to be destroyed by criminals of the town. Many of those people try to steal the eggs in the night to commercialize them for up to 60 thousand colones.
“That spawning (of leatherback turtles) is happening everywhere in the Caribbean, but there are hot spots such as Pacuare, Parismina and Matina. These are places where many people come to plunder nests and take eggs. Most of them are not directly from the area; they move from pineapple or banana plantations to increase their wages or get more money,” said Mauricio Vargas, an official of SNG.
In one night, you can loot up to 500 eggs that can give profits of over 50 thousand colones. It is a lucrative but illegal business, which is why they try to rescue a number of species daily.
“In the case of the leatherback turtle each unit can have up to 100 eggs. What is done is that the nests are relocated to the beach. As the turtle leaves a clear trail, what we do is that we take them out with a bag and relocate them elsewhere, so there is not such a large sign to find them,” argued Vargas.
The officers of the environmental unit of the SNG are always prepared for any kind of confrontation. However, that does not push them away from threats and armed suspects that could intimidate them.
“Depending on the time, they use stronger protection measures than normal. But, threats are always given. There are several people who roam the beach. These are local people or from other parts… There are drug addicts who come to change those eggs into drugs. These are dangerous and serious people,” said the official.
In fact, people convicted with crimes such as rape or murder have been arrested while being searched on duty. The range of action extends Pacuare, Parismina and Gandoca Manzanillo.
“Normally these are people who get violent, you must be careful because they have machetes, knives and makeshift weapons. Right now we are in the season of leatherback turtles that is from February to May. This follows the green turtle season, which is from July to November,” said the expert.
The number of leatherback females that are estimated to reach spawning in the Caribbean is around 2,000 individual turtles.
The Costa Rica News (TCRN)
San Jose, Costa Rica