05 / May / 2020
As the COVID-19 global pandemic continues to take human lives, the methods used in each country to protect the health of its citizens have also benefited wildlife and habitat. Unfortunately, there are also some unfortunate consequences for wildlife on the Osa Peninsula that are now coming into focus.
The COVID-19 shut down of Costa Rica also shut down tourism, leaving entire towns unemployed. With dwindling income for food and other essentials, even communities concerned about their surrounding natural resources are seeing their only options as hunting, gold panning, or logging. Sadly, this desperate and destructive activity is happening all over the Osa, and tragically, inside Corcovado National Park. There, Park authorities find themselves facing off with large groups of gold miners and hunters that are once again invading the park.
Here’s the urgent challenge facing the next generation of sea turtles. Sea turtles and their nests are easy prey for desperate people. Without tourism, we have lost the dozens of volunteers who come each season to stand vigil with staff and volunteers from the Corcovado Foundation to protect the nesting sites from predators, including human poachers. Our volunteers are the lifeblood of our program. They not only provide the workforce needed to protect the beaches, but their financial contributions help us pay the salaries of biologists. No one knows when our volunteers will be able to join us again, and so, our sea turtle populations are once again at considerable risk.
So just as we were making significant progress, saving thousands of baby turtles, educating people about their importance, and how a sea turtle alive is much more valuable than a dead one, the virus set us back — financially and in the number of volunteers.
Life is challenging enough for these tiny hatchlings, first being able to survive in their eggs, undisturbed beneath the sand long enough to hatch. Then, they have to run the gauntlet of jaws and beaks of the mammals and seabirds who stand between them and the water. Once in the ocean, they’re on their own to face a new wave of marine predators, among them, more humans. People will destroy them with chemical and waste pollution, fishing nets, and the plastics that wound, strangle and kill at every stage of their lives.
You are the solution!
We understand that the economic times are hard everywhere, we’re asking for any donation you can make to help us hire residents of the Osa Peninsula to replace our volunteers now and over the next few months. We’ll pay them to build the new hatcheries, and help guard them against the dramatic increase in egg poaching and aggressive predators. Your support will help us give people a way to make even a little money and lessen the need for them to depend on jungle meat and turtle eggs. If you would like to get more information about the situation we are facing, or if you think that you can help us in one way of the other, please do not hesitate to reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org