Volunteers at our Osa In-Water Sea Turtle Project will help capture sea turtles, test blood, assist with research, monitor the health of injured turtles and help with the reforestation of the mangroves near the project.
In Golfo Dulce, we are working with two species: the Hawksbill and the Black Turtle, also known as the Pacific Green Turtle.
Volunteers make up a very important part of this conservation project. We also welcome families and groupsto work with us at this project. Many schools and universities join us as part of their environmental education program.
This opportunity is especially appealing to specialized groups of people such as veterinarians and marine biologists. Our Osa In-Water Sea Turtle Research Project gives a unique opportunity to these professionals to put into practice what they have been studying while being in one of the most beautiful places in Costa Rica. It is important to note, however, that no experience is necessary to participate as a volunteer in this incredible project. Even children traveling with their families are very welcome to participate.
The dynamics of the local sea turtle populations are poorly understood, and while some information on females has been gathered from nesting beaches, little is known about population structure, genetic origin in-water habitat use and health status.
Sea Turtles spend only 1% of their life nesting on the beaches, and in these circumstances only adult females may be studied. Little, if no information is available about juvenile populations or sex ratios of adult populations, including how the human threats affects them.
There is a need of assessing habitats used by sea turtles in different life stages, and types of threats they are exposed to in nesting beaches, as well as coastal and pelagic waters.
Foraging sea turtles are mainly found in shallow (<50m), hard-bottom substrates or sea grass beds in coastal areas, in some cases around coral reefs. By sampling the Golfo Dulce, in this study, it is possible to gain information on the demographic structure of the population, such as abundance of immature, adult male and non-breeding females, their behavior and health status.
This is an extraordinary way to work in a natural environment with sea turtles while making a real difference in the conservation efforts to help prevent sea turtles from going extinct and to gain a better comprehension of their habitat. These monitoring and tagging efforts are essential if we want to collectively gain a better understanding of the presence of different size classes of these species, the role of these animals in the reef and sea grasses, and also their use of the different habitats studied.
Primary Volunteer duties
- To assist the project staff in reef surveys; hand capture of turtles; habitat characterization; help staff untangle turtles from nets; obtain information on the biometry of the turtle, external tagging; extraction of tissue sampling for DNA study.
- Volunteers at our Osa In-Water Sea Turtle Project will also monitor the health of injured turtles in the rescue center, as well as help with the reforestation of mangroves near the project.
We have two different types of volunteer lodging at this project. On-site we have shared cabins (6-8 people), some with attached bathrooms. Next door to the project we have private cabins available for an extra charge.
The Osa In-Water project is located in Playa Blanca, 30 km (19 miles) from Puerto Jimenez on the Osa Peninsula in the Southern Pacific Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica. Playa Blanca is part of the Golfo Dulce, the bay that separates the Osa Peninsula from the mainland of Costa Rica. The surrounding landscape is flat farmland and there is a beautiful sand and coral beach called “Playa Blanca” at the east end of the town.
View Tropical Adventures Foundation Map – Costa Rica in a larger map
- 2-3% of Earth’s flora found nowhere else
- 323 endemic species of plants and vertebrates
- Largest population of Scarlet Macaws in Central America
- 10,000+ insects
- 4,000+ vascular plants
- 700+ tree species
- 463 species of birds
- 140 mammals, including 25 species of dolphins and whales
- 4 different sea turtle species
- Identification of resident individuals
- Demographic structure of the resident population
- Definition of aggregation areas of individuals of different ages classes in the coral reef and sea grass.
- Habitat use and behavior in the coral reef
- Health Condition related to parasites and nutrition
Surveys will be conducted on a daily basis (weather permitting) and will consist of:
- Turtle counts and/or captures by snorkeling
- Capture/Recapture of turtles using nets
- Habitat characterization
NOTE: From time to time there can be unavoidable changes to projects. These can be caused by weather, conservation priorities, and material supplies, or because ongoing projects have progressed more quickly or slowly than originally planned. We ask you to be flexible with changes – we are sure that you will enjoy each project just as much.
Project tasks may sometimes seem repetitive but your efforts will make a huge difference. Be prepared to spend time on activities where you do not see immediate progress. Enjoy the project locations, the incredible location, your fellow team members and the fact you are helping to make a difference in Costa Rican and worldwide sea turtle conservancy.
No related posts.