Tortugas de Pacuare is an NGO dedicated to the protection of our wildlife, with a focus on sea turtles such as Leatherbacks, Green, Hawksbill and Olive Ridley sea turtles. Costa Rica is home to some of the most important beaches in the world for turtle nesting. While the government protects some areas, especially national parks, many important beaches for turtles remain unprotected. For this reason, we started the project Tortugas de Pacuare.
With the support of the local community and volunteers from all over the world, we work to help to protect sea turtles and conserve the environment. By working with communal and environmental education programs, we further strive to educate people on the importance of caring about such a valuable natural treasure: the beautiful sea turtles of Costa Rica.
In 2010, Tortugas de Pacuare was born on the northern island of the Pacuare river. The project started out by renting a house there for one and a half years and subsequently moved into the “Quelonios del Caribe” house – a research center in charge of the scientific authorizations – where it stayed for another year and a half. During those three years, the volunteers paddled across the river every night to patrol the beach of the southern island, as no other project or governmental institution did so. Without the protection of the volunteers, the sea turtles barely had any chance as 90% of the nests were poached.
Protecting the beach is hard work at times, as it needs to be ensured constantly, even when climatic conditions are difficult. Sometimes however, the weather conditions or the strong current of the river were so grave that it prevented the volunteers from crossing the river with the little boat and going on patrol. That is why, when Luis had the opportunity to buy a little wooden house on the southern island, he immediately bought it. He organized a crowdfunding campaign and was able to collect a quarter of the amount needed, which was enough to pay for the first part of the house. Step by step, he kept paying off the house with the help of the volunteers’ contributions and moving to the new location has allowed the project to become more efficient in protecting the beach. The move was a great progress and milestone for the project, as the turtles are now safer on the protected beach and the volunteers feel more comfortable.
A few years later, our conservation work became known in other towns of Costa Rica and the initiative was born to support other projects throughout the country, with a social objective that generates a positive and sustainable impact for the local communities and of course for the biodiversity of each region of our country.