Sea Turtle

Sea Turtle Conservation
Playa del Coco

Playa del Coco is the twenty kilometre, white sand beach that
stretches from Isla Navidad to the mouth of the Marabasco


In 1980, seeing hundreds of sea turtles coming up on the beach
in a single day, was a common sight. Now, fifty years later, only a
handful of turtles return to our beach each day.

Danger of extinction

The harvesting has stopped but the few turtles that are coming back to lay eggs, are not enough to rebuild the population. Turtle eggs have long been a source of food on Playa del Coco. Raccoons, tahonies, birds, dogs, fish and humans, all take their toll. Biologists say “ the chances of a baby turtle reaching maturity is less than one in a thousand”.

The goal of the Playa
del Coco Sea Turtle Conservation Program

Is to reverse that trend, and get the sea turtle numbers back to where they can maintain their numbers naturally.
Each morning, just as the sun is coming up, Conservation Program volunteers search the beach for newly laid nests.

The harvesting has stopped but the few turtles that are coming back to lay eggs, are not enough to rebuild the population

How is it Done

When a track is spotted, a probe is used to find the nest. The nests can be 20 cm below the surface (Olive Ridley) to a meter deep (Leatherback). When the nest is located, the eggs are carefully removed and replanted in our hatchery.

The nests are transplanted

Protect them from predators and poachers. Without the protection of the hatchery, very few of the baby turtles would reach the ocean. In 40 to 50 days, the turtle eggs hatch. We keep them in the hatchery, and release them just before sunset.

 Turtles released

 In the morning or during the day are easy prey for the many birds and fish found here

Playa del Coco

Species of Sea Turtles

Four species of sea turtles are known to lay eggs on Playa del Coco. The most common is the Olive Ridley. Pacific Green turtles make up about 5%, and each year we have released one hatch
of the much larger, and very rare, leatherbacks. Loggerhead leatherback turtles have also been known to visit our beach. As yet we have not seen any.

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