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Sea Shepherd Launches Operation Jairo, Sea Turtle Defense Campaign

Volunteers are now present in Honduras and Costa Rica; campaign begins in Florida in July


Upon emerging from its nest, a baby sea turtle hatchling heads to the sea Photo: Sea Shepherd

May 31st, the two-year anniversary of the murder of Costa Rican sea turtle conservationist Jairo Mora Sandoval, marks the official start of Operation Jairo, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s summer 2015 Sea Turtle Defense Campaign!

Sea Shepherd volunteers from around the world will be working in Honduras and Costa Rica to ensure that nesting sea turtles and their hatchlings make it safely to the sea.

In Honduras, Sea Shepherd will protect three endangered species of sea turtles – hawksbill, green and loggerhead – as we did in 2014. Sea turtles are protected by law in both Honduras and Costa Rica, but continue to face the ever-present threat of poachers in search of nesting turtles to kill for their meat and to steal their eggs for sale on the black market.

Meeting with Sea Shepherd Campaign Coordinator, David Hance, in Honduras last year, Utila Mayor Troy Bodden vowed to arrest and fully prosecute anyone in violation of the turtle protection laws and has pledged his 100 percent support of Sea Shepherd and its efforts.

Sea Shepherd returns to Costa Rica following 2014’s highly successful Operation Pacuare, which saved the lives of nearly 3,000 sea turtles! This year, Sea Shepherd volunteers will once again conduct patrols on Pacuare Beach in Costa Rica’s Limón province to protect hawksbill, green and leatherback sea turtles, but for the first time will also have a presence at Moin Beach, the site of the tragic murder of sea turtle conservationist Jairo Mora Sandoval on this very date in May of 2013. Jairo was widely believed to be killed by poachers. Sea Shepherd has named the Operation Jairo campaign in his honor, and will continue his important work to protect the endangered sea turtles he loved so dearly.

In mid-July, Operation Jairo will launch in southeastern Florida’s Broward County, another region critical to nesting sea turtles and their vulnerable hatchlings. However, while poaching is not a threat to turtles on Florida’s shores, commercial lighting is a vexing problem. Light may not seem like it could be a serious threat, but to newly hatched turtles it presents a disorientation danger, often causing the hatchlings to head away from the sea and further inland where they are at high risk of dying from dehydration or being crushed by traffic on busy roadways. Sea Shepherd will be working with the local grassroots non-profit Sea Turtle Oversight Protection (S.T.O.P.) not only to protect nests along the beaches and guide nesting turtles and hatchlings away from the light and toward the sea, but to ensure that municipalities are adhering to and enforcing crucial lighting ordinances.

GET INVOLVED: Sea Shepherd is seeking Operation Jairo volunteers in Florida from mid-July through September, and in Costa Rica in June and early July. Please consider joining us to protect endangered sea turtles! With six of seven species on the brink of extinction, sea turtles need you on the beaches and on their side!

“With Operation Jairo, volunteers will get to see direct results of their work to protect these fragile endangered species from extinction. Each sea turtle hatchling safely escorted to the water is a life saved, and the more volunteers we have along the beaches, the more turtles that will be given this fighting chance at survival,” said Sea Shepherd Campaign Coordinator, David Hance.

If you are at least 18 years of age and are able to commit to participating in the campaign for one week or longer in Costa Rica or two weeks or longer in Florida, please visit our Ground Crew page for full details, a campaign schedule and to submit your application:


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