Protecting Sea Turtles in Costa Rica & Providing a Sustainable Income Alternative for the Local Community
Themes: Animal & Wildlife Conservation
Related GLA Programs: Costa Rica: The Spring Break Sea Turtle Initiative™, Costa Rica: The Sea Turtle Initiative™
Grant Recipient: Asociación Salvemos las Tortugas de Parismina (ASTOP)
Asociacion Salvemos las Tortugas de Parismina is a community run non profit based in Parismina, Costa Rica. ASTOP is a conservation organization dedicated to protecting sea turtles and their eggs from poaching. Four different species of sea turtles (green, leatherback, hawksbill, loggerhead) nest on the beaches of Parismina, all are listed as vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. ASTOP was formed in April of 2001 by local residents in conjunction with the Costa Rica Coast Guard.
1. Before the formation of ASTOP 98% of green turtles were killed for their meat and 98% of all turtle nests on Parismina beach were poached. Poaching has since decreased by 60%, saving 10,000 hatchlings a year.
2. ASTOP also supports the village of Parismina economically and employees former poachers as “turtle guides” leading tourists on night hikes to view nesting turtles.
3. There is no road to Parismina; it is accessible only by boat or plane and the only paved surface in town is a runway. ASTOP helps both local and international volunteers arrange logistics in order to ensure they have enough volunteers to support their principle projects of night patrols of sea turtle nesting sites and maintaining the turtle nursery.
In addition to their principle projects, ASTOP organizes many cultural, environmental and education programs, such as beach cleanups, ecological agriculture programs, and art activities for children. They are also building a butterfly farm and a tropical garden.