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Sea Shepherd Warns of Threats Against Sea Turtle Defense Campaign Volunteers in Costa Rica

By June 16, 2015No Comments

File photo: Sea Shepherd is protecting endangered sea turtles from the deadly threat of poaching
Photo: Sea Shepherd

Volunteers from Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s Operation Jairocampaign, currently protecting sea turtles and their nests in Pacuare, Limon, Costa Rica, have warned that poachers in the area are planning actions against their personal safety.

Operation Jairo Ground Leader for Costa Rica, Brett Bradley reports that he has been told by a confidential informant that poachers are planning an assault as an attempt to intimidate Sea Shepherd volunteers peacefully working to save sea turtles and their hatchlings along Costa Rican shores.

The information comes out just days after Sea Shepherd volunteers, during a patrol of Pacuare Beach, saved a nesting sea turtle from a poacher caught in the act of stealing the turtle’s eggs.

Sea Shepherd believes that the poachers are now reacting in response to the organization’s efforts to stop the deadly actions of unscrupulous people who, year after year, are claiming the lives of thousands of endangered sea turtles.

The sea turtle eggs are not the only targets. Hundreds of vulnerable nesting turtles are also killed for their meat.


A poacher is caught red-handed with his arm inside the nest of a leatherback sea turtle, removing her eggs as they were being laid
Photo: Sea Shepherd

Sea Shepherd is gravely concerned about potential attacks against its crew. Poachers will defend their lucrative operations violently, as Costa Rica and the world saw in May 2013 with the tragic murder of Costa Rican sea turtle conservationist Jairo Mora Sandoval, whose murder remains unpunished to this day. Sea Shepherd’s campaign is named in honor of Jairo, and was officially launched last month on the two-year anniversary of his death.

Sea Shepherd is taking the appropriate steps to ensure the physical safety of all our volunteers, including the denouncement of these threats presented by ground leader Brett Bradley on June 16, 2015 to the Costa Rican Judicial Investigation Organization (OIJ).

“We are in contact with the local police, the Costa Rican Ministry of Environment, Energy and Seas and the Coast Guard as well as the local embassies overseeing our individual crewmembers,” said Sea Shepherd Campaign Coordinator, David Hance.

Hance is insisting that this threat from poachers operating illegally on Costa Rican beaches must be taken seriously. “The government of Costa Rica must provide us immediate protection,” he said.

“Sea Shepherd’s history shows that we have faced adversity and threats in response to our non-violent campaigns to defend ocean wildlife, and we will not be intimidated,” added Hance.

Only one in 1,000 sea turtle hatchlings will survive to adulthood. Sea Shepherd is taking action to address the urgent need to protect these endangered marine animals before it’s too late.

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