Tortugas Preciosas de Osa / Annual report 2021

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ANNUAL REPORT 2021

2021

Tortugas Preciosas de Osa Asociación Iniciativas para el Desarrollo Humano Sostenible -IDEHS AMAZON CONSERVATION TEAM - ACT


Table of Content 01

LETTER FROM THE TEAM

02

ABOUT US

03

WHERE WE WORK

04

OUR STRATEGIES

06

OUR SPECIES

07

RESULTS

09

IMPACT IN CONSERVATION

11

THE HAWKSBILL ROUTE

13

OUR NEXT GOALS

15

OUR TEAM

2021 Annual Report - Tortugas Preciosas de Osa


LETTER FROM THE TEAM Dear friends: Tortugas Preciosas de Osa, an initiative of the Amazon Conservation Team®, was started in 2019 by a group of naturalists and conservationists who noticed a significant presence of sea turtles nesting on Costa Rica's Playa Preciosa and surrounding areas, while also observing great need for their protection and conservation. From the beginning, we counted on the help of local communities, national and international volunteers, and naturalists from all over the world as well as partnerships with conservation organizations. All of this enabled us to to begin making a difference in the conservation of the three species of marine turtles that are found in the Osa Peninsula. In our second year of work, we have become immersed into a great network of exchange of knowledge and partnership with local communities, professionals, world-renowned conservation organizations, and initiatives that have strengthened our vision and mission and expanded the frontiers of our work and capacity. While sea turtles are considered marine species, their influence transcends the shoreline. Across millennia, they have linked the ocean with the tropical forests in deep ecological relationships, while reaching into the livelihoods and cultures of local communities along the coast and into to the mountains. We feel deeply grateful to all of our friends, colleagues and contributors for making this possible. Thank you for conserving the sea turtles of the Osa Peninsula with us! Sincerely, TORTUGAS PRECIOSAS DE OSA TEAM

2021 Annual Report - Tortugas Preciosas de Osa


ABOUT US MISSION

To r t u g a s P r e c i o s a s d e O s a p a r t n e r s w i t h l o c a l communities, research institutions and international organizations to protect and conserve the species of sea turtles that occur in the Osa Peninsula, and their ecological and cultural value.

VISION

We see l ocal communit ies of th e Os a Pe n insu l a c oexisting in harmonious re l ation s h ip with s e a tu r tl e s, where both parties can th r ive a n d con tr ibu te to th e wel l being of the area, the cou n tr y a n d th e wor l d.

2021 Annual Report - Tortugas Preciosas de Osa

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WHERE WE WORK In 2019, we began working in Playa Preciosa, the longest sandy beach in Costa Rica's Golfo Dulce, entailing six kilometers of biological monitoring and protection. In 2020, we covered four more beaches contiguous to Preciosa. By 2021, we worked in a total of nine beaches, including four in the delta of the Terraba River in the Térraba-Sierpe Wetland System, an area highly important for the ecology of the Hawksbill turtle. We closed 2021 covering more than 50 km of beaches important for the nesting, feeding, reproduction and refuge of the three species of sea turtles of the Osa Peninsula.

Study sites of Tortugas Preciosas de Osa in the Osa Península.

2021 Annual Report - Tortugas Preciosas de Osa

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OUR STRATEGIES Tortugas Preciosas de Osa is dedicated to the biological monitoring of the populations of sea turtles that nest in the Osa Peninsula, and to the conservation of their nesting sites, which entails diminishing the human impact on their populations and contributing to the awareness of the importance of these species for the well-being of the local communities. Morning & Night Patrols Recording of nesting activity per species and beach.Relocation of at-risk nests to our hatchery. Tagging of nesting females. Health assessment of nesting females.

Sea Turtle Hatchery At-risk nests complete their development here. They are protected against poachers and predation (98% hatching success). Provided with sun and shade areas for equal distribution of sexes.

Hatchlings Release Release of hatchlings from our hatchery with volunteers and local and international visitors in scheduled events. 2021 Annual Report - Tortugas Preciosas de Osa

04


OUR STRATEGIES

Our Strategies

Environmental Education Local primary and high school students, as well as national and international visitors come and learn actively about conservation of sea turtles.

Coastal Restoration Collection, germination and planting of native species of trees to restore sea turtle nesting sites degraded by commercial activities.

Beach Cleanups Campaigns to remove plastics and debris from the beaches of the Peninsula in collaboration with locals, volunteers and conservation organizations.

Partnerships & Collaboration Collaboration agreements with regional and international initiatives to join efforts for the conservation of sea turtles in our scope area.

We achieve these goals by collaborating with local people, community groups, and visitors who help us conduct sea turtle patrols, deter poachers, generate ecological information, and maintain our hatchery. Our mission is to integrate research into and protection of sea turtles, while collaborating with and providing education to local communities, ultimately promoting the conservation of these critically endangered marine species. 2021 Annual Report - Tortugas Preciosas de Osa

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OUR SPECIES HAWKSBILL Eretmochelys imbricata One of the most threatened sea turtle species in the world. Historically, it has been hunted for the use of its shell in the creation of jewelry. It is currently listed as "Critically Endangered" by the IUCN. In the Osa Peninsula, its main threats are accidental fishing and poaching of nests for human consumption or sale.

GREEN TURTLE Chelonia mydas It is the second most threatened species of sea turtle in Costa Rica. Historically, the poaching of adults and eggs for human consumption has decimated their populations. It is currently listed as "Endangered" by the IUCN. In the Osa Peninsula, its main threat continues to be the poaching of nests for consumption or sale. OLIVE RIDLEY Lepidochelys olivacea It is the least threatened species of sea turtle. Historically, human consumption of adult individuals and eggs has decreased its populations. It is currently listed as "Vulnerable" by the IUCN. In the Osa Peninsula, the main threat to its populations continues to be poaching of eggs for human consumption and predation of nests by feral dogs, raccoons and coatis. SOURCE: Mortimer, J.A & Donnelly, M. (IUCN SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group). 2008. Eretmochelys imbricata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T8005A12881238. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T8005A12881238.en. Downloaded on 22 May 2020. Seminoff, J.A. (Southwest Fisheries Science Center, U.S.). 2004. Chelonia mydas. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2004.RLTS.T4615A11037468.en. Downloaded on 22 May 2020.

The

IUCN

Red

List

of

Threatened

Species

2004:

e.T4615A11037468.

Abreu-Grobois, A & Plotkin, P. (IUCN SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group). 2008. Lepidochelys olivacea. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T11534A3292503. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T11534A3292503.en. Downloaded on 22 May 2020.

2021 Annual Report - Tortugas Preciosas de Osa

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RESULTS We achieve these goals by collaborating with local people, community groups, and visitors who help us conduct sea turtle patrols, deter poachers, generate ecological information, and maintain our hatchery. Our mission is to integrate research into and protection of sea turtles, while collaborating with and providing education to local communities, ultimately promoting the conservation of these critically endangered marine species. Following are the results of our 2021 working year, with the aspiration to have many further positive outcomes in the future.

493

Sea Turtle Nests recorded and protected

24

Hawksbill

459

Olive Ridley

2021 Annual Report - Tortugas Preciosas de Osa

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Green

07


Results

RESULTS

131

Volunteers

96

Nationals

99

35

International

13

One-day visitors Alliances & from hotels & collaborations communities with organizations

140,076

People reached on social media platforms 2021 Annual Report - Tortugas Preciosas de Osa

08


IMPACT IN CONSERVATION

42,516

Baby sea turtles released overall Decrease of 88% in wild nest predation: 90 %

60 %

% of Predation per year:

40 %

2018 (44.55%) 2019 (29.7%) 2020 (19.8%) 2021 (5.94%)

12 %

2021 Annual Report - Tortugas Preciosas de Osa

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IMPACT IN CONSERVATION

Impact in Conservation

84,96%

Hatching success in our hatcheries

1,500

Trees of native species planted in degraded nesting sites

238

Locals involved in environmental and conservation activities

13

Environmental Education activities 2021 Annual Report - Tortugas Preciosas de Osa

6

Conservation activities 10


HAWKSBILL ROUTE As part of the binational collaboration in the project "Conservation of the Hawksbill Turtle in the Coiba National Park", which we initiated in 2021 in conjunction with NGOs, international researchers and Panamanian authorities, we conducted research and conservation efforts in both countries. During April 2021, the Tortugas Preciosas team joined a Hawksbill turtle capture campaign mutually organized by the Ministry of Environment of Panama and several organizations with the aim of recording new and previously recorded individuals of the species in the surroundings of Coiba National Park, located at 50 km from continental land. This initiative, underway for over eight years, is generating the baseline for the conservation status of this highly endangered species of sea turtle, in a location considered to have the highest density of Hawksbill in the Eastern Pacific. During the campaign, we captured and tagged 108 individuals, obtaining ecological and health information crucial to understanding of the ecology of the species. Coiba National Park. 2021 Annual Report - Tortugas Preciosas de Osa

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Hawksbill Route

During this trip, we visited and conducted a rapid assessment of at least ten potential Hawksbill turtle nesting sites. The sites visited included the islands of Coiba, Jicarón, Jicarito and Montuosa, as well as the Venado, Iguana, Mata Oscura and Marinera beaches, the latter being an "arribada" beach where thousands of Olive Ridley turtles synchronize their nesting in last months of the year.

Female Hawksbill tagged with a GPS transmitter in Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica. 2021 Annual Report - Tortugas Preciosas de Osa

HAWKSBILL ROUTE

With the aim of improving the conservation status of the Hawksbill turtle that is distributed throughout the seas of both countries, in September 2021, both parties, with the support of the Amazon Conservation Team, conducted a sail boat exploration trip covering the potential nesting sites for Hawksbill turtles associated with the Northern Pacific coast of Panama and the Osa Peninsula.

Montuosa Island, Pacific of Panama.

Upon arriving in the Golfo Dulce at the end of the trip, we were able to capture two Hawksbill turtle individuals (male and female) in the Osa Peninsula. We fitted these specimens with satellite transmitters in order to infer the locations and movements of this species during both the nesting season and the off-season, as there is almost no information available regarding the movements and occurrence of this species at sea, data that is especially important to locate their "hotspots" in habitat use. 12


OUR NEXT GOALS Since the beginning of our work in 2019, our objective has not changed: we seek the conservation of the three species of sea turtles that are found in the Osa Peninsula, in order to increase awareness of their importance at the local, national and international level, to promote the conservation of their ecosystems, and to improve the livelihoods of the communities that interact with them. Thanks to the support of the Amazon Conservation Team and partnerships with other organizations and initiatives, we now aim to expand our efforts to have a larger and stronger effect at a greater scale. Following you will find our objectives for 2022:

01

Increase the ecological knowledge regarding the Hawksbill turtle in the Osa Peninsula by tagging five more individuals with GPS transmitters.

02 Commence a regional initiative for the conservation of sea turtles and their ecological and cultural value that embraces Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia. 2021 Annual Report - Tortugas Preciosas de Osa

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OUR NEXT GOALS

Our Next Goals

03 Continue with the ecological restoration of degraded nesting sites, in part by planting 5,000 trees of native species in 2022. 04 Improve the current nesting sites of sea turtles of the Osa Peninsula through beach cleanups and anti-predation strategies. 05 Generation of a baseline for the ecological relationship between the Hawksbill turtle and wetland ecosystems and mangroves. 06 Develop a stronger Environmental Education program for locals and nationals and international visitors. 07 Promote scientific research by national and international students related to the biology and conservation of sea turtles.

2021 Annual Report - Tortugas Preciosas de Osa

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OUR TEAM MANUEL SANCHEZ Coordinator, Conservation Program Wildlife researcher, conservationist and photographer. Native to the Osa Peninsula, he has worked for the conservation of sea turtles for more than 20 years in Osa and throughout Costa Rica. A passionate naturalist, he has contributed to birdlife and herpetology research in Costa Rica and the United States.

JUAN CARLOS CRUZ Manager, Science & Conservation Researcher at the National University of Costa Rica. He is a tropical biologist and specialist in conservation and wildlife management with more than 10 years of experience in research into and conservation of terrestrial mammals, predator-prey ecology, and population dynamics.

MAX VILLALOBOS Program Director Specialist in natural resource management, GIS and field project operations. He has directed conservation and human development projects in Costa Rica and Panama for more than 15 years.

2021 Annual Report - Tortugas Preciosas de Osa

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OUR TEAM

Our Team

PASCAL THOMAS Program Support Developer of ecological tourism projects. A promoter of wildlife conservation, he has contributed to various projects in the Osa Peninsula for eight years, including efforts involving sea turtles and community development.

ADONIS VARGAS ARAYA Conservation Field Technician A native of Puerto Jiménez in the Osa Peninsula, he has contributed to the active conservation of sea turtles with Tortugas Preciosas de Osa for two years. He also has served as a naturalist guide in Osa with an emphasis on the conservation of threatened species.

MAXIMILIANO PONCE AGUILAR Conservation Field Technician A native of the Osa Peninsula and a fervent promoter of conservation, he has served for over nine years as a naturalist guide in different areas of Costa Rica, including Corcovado National Park.

IVANNIA MEJIA Programs Support Forest Engineer. She has participated in conservation and human development projects for more than 15 years in Costa Rica, including projects for payment for environmental services and sustainable production of non-timber forest products.

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OUR PARTNERS

2021 Annual Report - Tortugas Preciosas de Osa

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Thank you for conserving the sea turtles of the Osa Peninsula with us!

Contact: Juan Carlos Cruz carloscruz@idehs.org www.tortugaspreciosas.org


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