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Ostional, Costa Rica is a small village located on the Pacific coast of the country. While it may seem like just another beach town, it is actually a critical nesting site for the Olive Ridley turtle. Every year, from July to December, thousands of Olive Ridley turtles come to Ostional to lay their eggs, a phenomenon known as an arribada.
The Olive Ridley turtle is one of the smallest species of sea turtles, with adults typically weighing between 75-100 pounds. Despite their small size, they are incredibly resilient and can live up to 50 years in the wild. An interesting fact the turtles that are hatched on Ostional travel back to the same beach 15 years later to lay their own eggs, an incredible phenomena. Unfortunately, due to human activity such as poaching, habitat destruction, and accidental entanglement in fishing gear, the Olive Ridley turtle population has been declining in recent years.
In Ostional, however, the local community has taken action to protect these incredible creatures. In 1984, the government of Costa Rica declared the beach at Ostional a National Wildlife Refuge, making it illegal to harm the turtles or their eggs. Additionally, the community of Ostional has implemented a unique program called the Ostional Wildlife Refuge Cooperative, which allows the residents of the village to legally harvest a limited number of turtle eggs during the arribada.
This may seem counterintuitive, but the program has actually been incredibly successful in both protecting the turtles and providing economic benefits to the local community. The idea behind the program is that by allowing the legal harvest of a small percentage of eggs during the arribada, it reduces the incentive for illegal poaching and helps to offset the economic cost of protecting the turtles.
The program has been so successful that it has been replicated in other parts of Costa Rica and even in other countries where Olive Ridley turtles nest. In addition to the economic benefits, the program has also helped to increase public awareness about the importance of protecting sea turtles and their habitats.
Despite the success of the program, there are still threats to the Olive Ridley turtle population in Ostional and around the world. Climate change is causing sea levels to rise, which can destroy nesting habitats, and plastic pollution in the oceans is a major threat to sea turtles and other marine life. However, the work being done in Ostional and other communities around the world shows that there is hope for these amazing creatures.
The Olive Ridley turtle is an incredible species that is facing significant threats to its survival. However, the community of Ostional has shown that with the right combination of conservation efforts and economic incentives, it is possible to protect these turtles and their habitats while also benefiting the local community. If we continue to work together and take action to protect sea turtles and the oceans, we can ensure that these amazing creatures will continue to thrive for generations to come.
Casas Kismet is located just a short distance from Ostional - about a 20 minute drive. As a result, guests staying at Casas Kismet have the unique opportunity to witness this incredible natural phenomenon firsthand. The proximity of Casas Kismet to Ostional also makes it an ideal location for those who are interested in supporting local conservation efforts and learning more about the importance of protecting sea turtles and their habitats. With its stunning ocean view location in the hills of Pelada and close proximity to Ostional, Casas Kismet is the perfect destination for nature lovers and eco-conscious travelers.