By Erick Saldana, Sea Shepherd Costa Rica
Volunteering for Operacion Pacuare has being a great lesson for me. I have always loved nature, and been fascinated by our planet, and all living creatures that share a home with us.
This fascination has driven me to learn more about our home. The more I learned, the more confused I became. I always had problems understanding society, and the way development is affecting the environment. At the end, my conclusion is that society is moved by the greed of a few. As a human, I realize that we are linked together, and every action counts, so here I am, doing what I love doing by helping “Pachamama” (mother earth).
Having been a part of Operacion Pacuare since the very beginning has been a privilege. The satisfaction of seeing a leatherback turtle for the first time, or the release of hundreds of hawksbill hatchlings, or the relocation of a green turtle nest, have all been amazing experiences. But the most rewarding feeling of this campaign is realizing that by saving the marine turtles we are also helping the people, educating future generations, creating awareness in the community about the danger of extinction that marine turtles face, and how the protection of marine turtles could have a positive impact on their lives and the community’s economy.
Pacuare is land that belongs to no one, located on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica…ruled by its own laws, with no police or basic services like drinkable water, electricity, or cell phone coverage. It’s an unprotected village for turtles, and the few people that call it home. Sea Shepherd Costa Rica came with the objective of defending, conserving and protecting the marine turtle, but it’s hard to defend, conserve, and protect the marine turtle without working with the community. They are intrinsically linked together in symbiosis since the beginning of Pacuare.
Working with locals to help enforce the national laws, and meeting a new generation of volunteers from all over the globe who dream of a better future, makes me believe that there is hope that maybe one day, this innocent creature will no longer be in danger and that communities like Pacuare will coexist together with turtles as their most appreciated guest. Who knows? Maybe one day there will not be a need for us to take care of the turtles; in the meantime, I will work for that day here.
I want to thank our fallen hero for his work protecting marine turtles, and the legacy he has left for future generations. RIP Jairo Mora Sandoval (March 22, 1987 – May 31, 2013).