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During nearly 4 years of work, this initiative has achieved a profound change in the relationship between the human community and the nesting turtles:
Thanks to the educational campaigns, the Junquillal inhabitants have switched from being nest poachers to promoting their active conservation.
A group of community youngsters, the “Baula Boys”, trained by the CBP, are engaged in the nightly monitoring of the beach, the operation of a sea turtle hatchery, where high-risk eggs are brought in to be protected until the release of the baby turtles, and in the outreach with lessons learnt to neighboring communities.
Each year, egg poaching has decreased and 2008 had a record hatching percentage for Leatherback nests of 62%, which is extraordinary in times of climate variability and compared to records from other main nesting beaches. Poaching switched from being generalized up to 2004, to only 4% of the Leatherback nests during the last season.
41,000 hatchlings of three marine turtle species have meanwhile crawled to the sea at this site.
Artificial light incidence from public and private lighting has been reduced in over 75%, due to a participative process that involved the Coopeguanacaste Electricity Distibution Company, local organizations, owners and the community at large.
Youngsters and children from Junquillal and the neighboring communities of Pargos and Paraíso have benefited from the Ecological Education Program of CBP. This program, among other achievements, allowed that two groups of local students from Primary School and High School could develop research projects on marine turtle conservation and be national finalists at the Costa Rica Scientific Fair.
Junquillal has become the first beach in which a general nesting beach temperature monitoring process has been initiated. A palliative measures design is expected from this work, in order to attenuate the effects of climate change, as are global warming and sea level increase, for Junquillal as well as for other beaches. The community initiated a forest restoration plan headed by the CBP project, as a result of the first results from this study.
Marine turtles hatchings in the race to the sea, Junquillal, Costa Rica.