In Part 9 of the Animal Sanctuaries of Costa Rica we introduce to you the Happy Turtle Project located on our Caribbean coast. Costa Rica is one of the most important nesting grounds in the world for several speicies of Sea Turtle. The Leatherback, Green Sea, Hawksbill, and the Olive Ridley can be found nesting on both of our coasts.
Turtles are in trouble around the word and many are losing the beaches they use as nesting grounds. Turtles will travel hundreds and hundreds of miles to return to the beach they were born on and lay their own eggs. Dangers include pollution, loss of habitat to development, poachers, fishing nets, and each year their numbers dwindle.
Projects such as La Tortuga Feliz are doing wonderful work in Costa Rica protecting and raising awareness about the plight of our many turtle species.
Watch this video to learn more about what they are doing and imagine spending time here yourself volunteering!
La Tortuga Feliz is a non profit organisation, based in Costa Rica, whose aims are the protection of sea turtles with the help of volunteers. The attendance of the volunteers contributes also to the improvement of the living conditions and education of the local inhabitants. These local inhabitants guard/patrol the beach (east coast of Costa Rica) together with the volunteers, collect the turtle eggs and bring these eggs to a hatchery, guarded by volunteers on a 24 hours scheme. By helping to generate an income for the locals, we hope to take away the necessity for them to poach the turtles. The partnership between the locals and the volunteers creates the ideal environment for the turtles to lay their eggs.
Costa Rica offers many wonderful options for those wanting to get more involved and volunteer their time. Projects such as the happy turtle project are a great example of this and can change your perspective on how you look at the world. We encorage those looking for these types volunteering vacations in Costa Rica and around the world.
The late Paul Lepoutre had the idea to establish an ecotourism project for watching the sea turtles in this area. Together with two Dutch friends (who financed the project) a business plan was created. The ecotourism idea was transferred into a non profit volunteer project, the lease of the beach was organised and Paul started the building of the first cabins and the kitchen. The approach was rather unique and has the special attention and support of various organizations around the world, most notably the World Wildlife Fund. The project is managed by Robert Adeva and his team of enthusiastic (former) international volunteer managers. Since 2006 Robert was the operational manager and after Paul passed away Robert became president of the foundation The final goal of La Tortuga Feliz is to one day hand the management of the project over to the local community and Robert and his team are working towards this by forming part of a village Association. Decisions are made in conjunction with the local community through their participation in the Association.
The project “La Tortuga Feliz”, in which the majority of the inhabitants of the area participate has the following main objectives:
- The volunteer project
Volunteers can help with the realization of the protection of the sea turtles by patrolling the beaches together with the local inhabitants. The experience of being connected with nature in the way La Tortuga Feliz has organised the activities will contribute to a better world in the future. Read more… »
- Local inhabitants
Create an income for as many inhabitants as possible. This can be realised by using the locals as guides during the patrols. During these patrols the guides, together with the volunteers watch the sea turtles laying their eggs. After the sea turtle has finished the egg laying process the eggs will be taken by the volunteers and transported to a central, guarded hatchery.
- Education program
Locals who are interested in receiving and improving their level of education can do so via the adult education program that follows the National Curriculum. Costa Rican schools are invited to bring students to experience the conservation work at Tortuga Feliz. Volunteers can assist by giving their time during school visits.
Support The Happy Turtle Project – Get involved locally and internationally today!