By Marcel Evans
Jairo Mora proved just how deadly poaching turtle eggs in the province of Limón along Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast has become.
“They arm drug addicts with machetes and knives, sometimes even with makeshift or low-caliber weapons, so they can steal the eggs,” Mora told the Costa Rican daily La Nación, adding narco-traffickers pay the thieves with drugs to fuel their addictions.
Twenty-five days later on May 31, Mora, 26, was found dead – the back of his head bludgeoned by a stick or rock – on Moín beach, where he had spent years protecting turtles, according to Francisco Segura, director of the Judicial Investigation Organization (OIJ).
“When he fell, he swallowed sand, and more than likely, the blow and the sand caused him to asphyxiate,” Segura said. Nobody has been arrested in connection with Mora’s murder.
Mora and four female foreign environmentalists were keeping an eye on Moín beach on the night of May 30 when they were attacked by four or five men. The women were bound and taken to an abandoned house, where they escaped before alerting authorities, according to police reports.
But Mora wasn’t as fortunate.
“In the past three years … we have received [anonymous threats\ that drug traffickers and criminals in the area wanted us to leave,” said Didiher Chacón, a representative of the environmentalist organization Widecast, where Mora worked as the researcher in charge of turtle conservation at Moín beach.
Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast is an area commonly used by narco-traffickers for unloading drugs or refueling, so they often solicit help from locals, according to the Ministry of Public Security. More....