We've just reached the end of another fantastic season of research and conservation within Las Baulas National Park, and we're so grateful to all of the biologists, volunteers, students, and teachers that worked so hard.
Number of Turtles
This year on Playa Grande and Playa Ventanas, we encountered a total of 22 leatherback sea turtles, 58 olive ridley turtles, and 12 East Pacific green turtles. We estimate that this means we protected 154 leatherback nests, 116 olive ridley nests, and 48 green nests. This is the same number of leatherback turtles as last year; however, the numbers of olive ridleys and green turtles have decreased.
We think there were fewer nesting olive ridley and green turtles this year due to the strong El Niño that we experienced. El Niño means less food for sea turtles in the Pacific Ocean and this means that fewer sea turtles are able to obtain enough energy to nest.
We had a total of 17 leatherback nests, 32 olive ridley nests, and 1 green turtle nest in the hatchery.
We placed microphones into many olive ridley nests this season, in the hope of hearing hatchlings talk -- and this experiment was a great success. We have confirmed that olive ridley hatchlings do indeed speak!
This year, we celebrated the 5th birthday of our sister project on Playa Cabuyal. While this project is primarily focused on green turtles, Playa Cabuyal is an important secondary nesting beach for leatherbacks. This year, we had a record-breaking 6 leatherback turtles nesting on Playa Cabuyal, 45 olive ridley turtles, and 25 green turtles.
We were lucky to have 194 students and 27 teachers come through our Goldring Gund Marine Biology Station during the nesting season. We partner with top academic institutions in the U.S. and Costa Rica.