Vida - Blog

Vida spays/neuters cats and dogs to save turtles

The Sea Turtle Conservancy has worked for the conservation of endangered sea turtles in Costa Rica since 1959. Tortuguero hosts the largest green turtle rookery in the Western Hemisphere and also important nesting populations of leatherback and hawksbill turtles. The Costa Rican legislature declared Tortuguero National Park in 1975 to protect the nesting turtles, the beach and the adjacent terrestrial habitats. 

Sea turtles can lay thousands of eggs over their lifetime, however, it is estimated that only 1 in 1,000 to 10,000 will survive to adulthood. The natural obstacles faced throughout their life cycle are staggering, but it is the increasing threats caused by humans that are driving these endangered animals to extinction. 

Natural predators such as raccoons, crabs and ants raid eggs and hatchlings still in the nest. Once they emerge, hatchlings make bite-sized meals for birds, crabs and a host of predators in the ocean. After reaching adulthood, sea turtles are relatively immune to predation, except for the occasional shark attack. These natural threats, however, are not the reasons sea turtle populations have plummeted toward extinction, but rather a host of human-caused threats such as harvest for consumption, trade of sea turtle shells, incidental capture for commercial fishing, ingestion and entanglement in marine debris, light pollution, beach development and erosion and predation from invasive species such as domesticated dogs and cats. These animals will devour eggs and hatchlings and even attack nesting turtles. Free roaming animals can dig up several nests in one night, which can have a devastating effect on sea turtle populations. Therefore, Vida along with several organizations and volunteers participated in a two day spay and neuter program to help educate pet owners and control animal populations on this small sand bar island.

Vida is grateful for this opportunity and greatly appreciates the collaboration of the following organizations, companies and hardworking volunteers:

Sea Turtle Conservancy (David Aparici), Legatos Mundi (Lorena Barrantes), Laguna Lodge (Marissa Valverde), Esteban Flores (land transportation),  Dr. Mario Mairena, Dr. Julian Woodley, Laurie Shacknove, Ashley Suarez and Gerson Solano.