Turtle Conservation in Costa Rica

Pod Volunteer  »  Turtle Conservation in Costa Rica

Turtle Conservation in Costa Rica

from £845
Duration: from 1 week to 12 weeks
Countries: Costa Rica
Join an active conservation team monitoring and protecting sea turtle populations. Protect turtle nests against the risks of poaching and release hatchlings into the Pacific Ocean.

Turtle Conservation in Costa Rica

Volunteer role:

The project monitors and protects sea turtle populations by collecting data, placing eggs in safe hatcheries and patrolling the beaches to reduce the likelihood of poaching.

Volunteers will be allocated to one of the two research bases; North Beach or South Beach, depending on the needs of the project at the time.

All tasks are managed on a rotational basis. There are two main volunteer roles:

Hatchery duty

This involves monitoring the hatchery site at regular intervals to check for any new arrivals (baby turtles which have hatched)! You will record data on the number of new hatchlings and then release them into the ocean. This is an incredible experience as there are often around 100 hatchlings in a single nest.
Night patrol

Every evening between 7pm and 7am (depending on the tides), the beaches need to be patrolled to reduce the likelihood of poaching; volunteers will assist a research assistant or member of staff with this and walk the length of the beach keeping an eye out for any adult turtles making their way to land in order to nest. If you do encounter a nesting female, you will help to collect data on her and catch her eggs in order to place them in the hatchery to avoid the risk of them being poached or taken by animals.

Other roles

There are long term research assistants at the project who each carry out their own specific piece of research as well as the long term project research. If you are interested in their topics and would like to help them to collect data for this, you can let them know.

Volunteers can also assist with nest excavations where the contents of the nest are examined to count the number of eggs which were in there and the number of unborn or underdeveloped turtles, all of this data is recorded. You can also choose to assist with the community project where children from the local community are welcomed to visit the project in order to practice their English skills and do environmentally educational activities such as making items from recycled products.

How is the project making a difference?

For over 15 years, the project has been working closely with the local community to educate them on the importance of protecting sea turtles and conserving these species. During this time they have protected and released hundreds of thousands of hatchlings.

The night patrols have had a remarkably positive impact, seeing a drop of around 80% in the number of nests that have been poached in the area.

Olive Ridley turtles which account for around 90% of all turtle encounters in the area, are categorised as ‘vulnerable’ according to the IUCN Red List of Endangered species so their protection is vitally important. There is also a lack of data about this species and so the data that the project collects is incredibly important for building this knowledge base.

Why volunteers are needed:

Volunteers enable the project to carry out additional patrols which reduce the risk of poaching. They also help the project’s scientists and research assistants to collect scientific data about nesting turtles in the area which is used to gain an understanding of sea turtle reproductive behaviour, and improve their conservation strategies in the future. Volunteers also help to monitor and maintain the hatcheries to ensure that incubation conditions are optimal for egg development.

The funds received from volunteers are used to run the turtle projects, and help provide an income for local community members through employment opportunities such as guiding patrols and cooking meals. The work that volunteers do helps to build a sense of awareness among locals regarding the importance and benefits that come from protecting the animals, nature and their environment.

Interested in this; ready to enquire?

Apply now by clicking the button below and filling out the application form on gapyear.com. Pod Volunteer should then be in touch shortly to help with your enquiry.


Further Details

More information about this gap year opportunity...

Price details:

from £845


£75 discount for volunteers who combine more than one Pod Volunteer project!


All the time

This placement would suit:

Anyone who would has a passion for sea turtles, the ocean and conservation

Do you accept non UK citizens?


About Pod Volunteer

Pod Volunteer is an award winning non-profit organisation arranging ethical, inspiring and supported volunteering opportunities around the world. We work with long term projects that we know personally and where there is genuine benefit to local communities. Volunteers are needed from 1 - 12 weeks for animal, conservation, child care, education, teaching, building and community volunteering projects in Belize, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Ghana, India, Madagascar, Namibia, Nepal, Peru, South Africa and Thailand.

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