This year, the first baula—Costa Rican for leatherback sea turtle—emerged on the night of February 2nd from the dark Caribbean waves, and onto the shores of Ecology Project International’s Pacuare Reserve. EPI Costa Rica Research Coordinator Claudio Quesada and volunteers welcomed her quietly, and under soft, red light did their best to unobtrusively collect her measurements as she entered her natural nesting “trance.”
The 2,000-acre Pacuare Reserve safeguards one of the most important nesting beaches in the world for the endangered leatherback sea turtle. The Reserve’s beach is the only one on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast reporting a stable trend in nests from year to year.
Worldwide, illegal harvest, entanglement in fishing gear, climate change, beachfront development, and industrial lighting near beaches that disorient hatchlings have all contributed to this ancient reptile’s steep decline. (Read... Read More
When you hear “Galapagos,” what comes to mind? Lumbering giant tortoises? Deep and cold, turquoise waters? Sea lions lounging with marine iguanas?
Of all the things that come to mind, there is one principle that unites them all—uniqueness driven by evolution. Due to the Galapagos’ isolation, volcanic origin, and relative youth, the 127 islands, islets, and rocks forming the archipelago boast a uniquely high level of endemism—species found nowhere else on earth. There are 2,909 marine species that have been identified in the Galapagos, and of these, more than 520 are endemic.
Charles Darwin noted descriptions of speciation in the finches and mockingbirds of the islands - species which had adapted over millions of years to survive in the habitats and microclimates of each island. The volcanic slivers of land known as the Galapagos Islands lie above the boundaries of three tectonic plates, and... Read More