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Wildlife
Letter to the Editor – Response to the article “Help Protect the Turtles by Swimming with them”

Dear Editors,

While I am sure it is well-intentioned, as a marine biologist/conservationist and member of the IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group, I have to say that the aforementioned article is both misleading and dangerous for turtle conservation. Under no circumstances should tourists be interacting physically with turtles during the mating process, and less so with people that are untrained in sea turtle biology and ecology. While they may be removing hooks and lines from turtles, often times fishermen are not aware of best practices for doing so, and as such end up causing more harm than good; often resulting in severe internal injuries to the animal.

Tourists should always be encouraged to enjoy nature and wildlife - but from a distance. Mating male sea turtles are territorial and can be dangerous. The idea that swimming with turtles will help save them is ludicrous. I support the idea of turtle tourism as a means for raising conservation funding as well as building awareness amongst the public, but human/wildlife interaction is never recommended. These men obviously wish to do good, but lack the training and awareness to undertake this type of tourism responsibly, and this should absolutely not be promoted by your magazine.

The idea of tourism going out to see sea turtles in the water is not, in itself, bad. These men could do great things by educating tourists about the threats to sea turtles and various changes in lifestyle and habits (eating less shrimp, making smart sea food choices, using less single-use plastic, using re-useable shopping bags and avoiding plastic ones, etc). Certainly after seeing the turtles in their natural habitat, they would be much more likely to adopt these practices; that is how behavior change for conservation happens. However, they should not be interacting with and disturbing these animals in the water - as with all wildlife tourism, the mantra should always be look but don’t touch.

Alec Hutchinson
Sea turtle conservationist/marine biologist

> Read the original article in our April archive

Opinions expressed in the Voice of Nosara printed newspaper and website are not necessarily those of the Voice of Nosara, its Editors, Publisher, Board or affiliated parties. All letters and opinions are limited to 400 words, and must be signed by the author and include a passport or Identity Card number. The Newspaper has the right to edit and/or not publish letters at their discretion. Thank you.

 

More Community News

Yoga evening at NYI has 14 couples twisting themselves for charity

On May 21st at the Nosara Yoga Institute (NYI), thirty people gathered for massage, yoga, chocolate-covered strawberries and lots of laughter. In the process, they raised over $400 for the Escuelita de Verano, a free summer camp for the children of Nosara. More >

Youths Plant 200 Palm Trees on Guiones Beach

Several kids from the area planted two hundred palm trees
on Guiones Beach with the intention of giving a new and improved appearance to the visited tourist destination.
More >

New Spanish School in Nosara offers courses for foreign residents

“I don’t speak Spanish” is a phrase that you might expect to hear in Nosara from a visiting Tourist, but it is more often used by many of Nosara’s long term residents who speak little or no Spanish. As the number of foreign residents moving to Nosara increases, so does the need for a spanish education program for residents. Aspiring to meet that need, The Nosara Spanish Institute (NSI) will be opening its doors on June 7th, located within the community on Playa Pelada. More >

Local Hotel and Private School Earn Highest Blue Flag Award

NOSARA – During the month of May, two local establishments were awarded the prestigious Ecological Blue Flag Award of Costa Rica. On Monday May 10th the Del Mar Academy invited parents and community members to the official flag raising ceremony at their private school campus, and on Tuesday May 25th Hotel Giardino Tropicale celebrated the raising of their Blue Flag as well. More >

Opinion –Escuela Serapio Lopez: Administration Behavior Found Troubling

We are writing to express outrage and deep concern at the current administration of Escuela Serapio López Fajardo, as well as deep support and admiration for those parents, teachers, and community members acting on behalf of positive change and community control. More >

Opinion – Nosara Red Cross Operation Statistics

The Red Cross requests your help. Its primary function is to supply emergency support services to the community, and contribute transportation required by Nosara EBAIS (Basic Teams of Integral Health Attention). EBAIS is currently the only health center in the area, and it provides services to a population of around seven thousand people, plus a fluctuating population of five thousand. More >

 

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