Now that I’ve caught up on grading, I wanted to share a few pictures from a wildlife tour we took with Freddy (who only spoke Spanish). He had an amazing ability to see wildlife that would then take everyone in my group 5 minutes to find. The iguanas near us were huge, and they made a big racket, but they are so well camouflaged, that it always took me awhile to find them.
Freddy also knew just the place to see some poison dart frogs. He said that this species can really only hurt you if you touch them while you have a wound.
And for the final picture, we have a line of very small bats. Freddy says that they line up like this along the tree so that they look like a snake, and predators leave them alone.
Now, I’m going to go back to cleaning the sand out of everything I own. Did you know that Costa Rican black sand from the beach is magnetic?
Our time in Costa Rica has been difficult. I wasn’t prepared for a 10k hike on a dark beach every night. The sand is kicking my butt. The group did a lot of great conservation work while we were here. I saw some fantastic things and some sad things.
Even with all the challenges, I think we did some good here. We got to release this baby leatherback into the ocean. His chances for survival are low, but he would have died in the nest without our help.
We patrolled the hatchery and battled crabs all of our shift, but no turtles hatched for last night. 3 green turtle nests were relocated and one hawksbill nest was relocated.
Last night, we saw no turtles on my patrol. One of the other groups did retrieve eggs though.
This evening we will work the hatchery shift. If any of the leatherback turtles hatch during my shift, I get to take measurements and then release babies onto the beach. We would guard any babies to help avoid predation on the beach. Once they hit the water, they are on their own in the big, scary sea.
My patrol had two “false crawls” which is when the turtle comes up on the beach. But then returns without laying eggs. The other patrols got 6 green sea turtles that laid. Several clutches hatched last night too.
We also went on a wildlife tour and saw lots of awesome local wild life, including both types of sloths, all the kinds of monkeys in this area, and several birds and herps. Pictures upon my return.
Last night my patrol found 2 green sea turtles nesting. We collected the eggs (the one I worked lay 90 eggs) and put tags on her. She was a good sized turtle at about 1 m in length and .9 m wide.
In total , the group collected eggs from three turtles and lost one to poachers. We found her head chopped off on the beach which is incredibly sad. The hatchery also had three leatherback turtle nests hatch. Another group got to release the babies and watch them make their way into the ocean.
On a personal note, I learned that it is incredibly difficult to walk on a beach in the dark (lights can spook the turtles). I also learned that sand flies love me. My ankles are pretty chewed up.