By Jaime Lopez
Two suspected poachers were arrested this weekend by officers from the National Coast Guard Service of Costa Rica in Playa Amor, located in the Santa Cruz canton, province of Guanacaste. According to official communication CP-1301-2015 from the Ministry of Public Security (Spanish initials: MSP), the suspects were caught with 165 sea turtle eggs, specifically from the Lepidochelys olivacea (olive ridley) species.
Playa Amor is about four miles away from the Coast Guard Station Flamingo, which is near the Flamingo Marina. According to the MSP, one of the suspects is a boat captain and tour operator from Costa Rica, and the other man is a crew member from Nicaragua. It so happens that the suspects had dropped off a group of tourists at Playa Amor right before they decided to hit the beach for the purpose of poaching eggs from sea turtle nests.
After the poaching operation concluded, the suspects loaded their nefarious cargo aboard their tour boat and got underway. Unbeknownst to the two men, Coast Guard officers on patrol were watching them through binoculars aboard a small patrol boat. Once in the ocean, the officers boarded the suspects’ vessel and found the sea turtle eggs inside a burlap bag.
The Coast Guard Service has increased patrols during the current mid-year school break, particularly in the coastal areas that are known to attract large quantities of tourists.
The sea turtle eggs were taken to Playa Grande, where they were turned over to nature conservation officials from the Ministry of the Environment. The eggs will be placed in guarded nests situated along the northern Pacific beaches of Guanacaste. The two suspects were booked and taken before prosecutors in Santa Cruz.
It is estimated that about a million olive ridleys arrive on the beaches of Guanacaste during nesting season.