Costa Rica

Leatherback Sea Turtle

Disappearing Treasures

Protecting Costa Rican Rain Forest

Since 1991, public contributions to the Aquarium's Rain Forest exhibit's parking meter have totaled almost $440,000. Until 2003, this money was used primarily for the purchase and protection of pristine rain forest (more than 1,600 acres) in the Talamanca Corridor of Costa Rica, an area that supports a majority of the country's plant and animal species, through the Center for Ecosystem Survival's Adopt-an-Acre Program. Considered one of the most biologically rich and important places on Earth, the Talamanca Corridor contains 4% of the world's catalogued biodiversity and Central America's largest remaining intact rain forest.

In 2003, the Aquarium established a long-term relationship with Asociación ANAI, a small Costa Rica-based NGO, and directed parking meter funds to this organization to purchase rain forest and support community-based programs for sustainable development. Some of the purchased property will be turned over to indigenous associations to be managed as examples of traditional and sustainable land use.

Protecting Endangered Sea Turtles

The National Aquarium is working with Asociación ANAI and the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST) to support conservation efforts of endangered sea turtles.

The leatherback sea turtle, one of the primary species of concern, nests on the coasts of Costa Rica and has been listed as endangered since 1970. Very little is known about their migratory behavior, population genetics or dynamics, inherent diseases, or mortality rates. Research gathered through rescue operations and satellite tracking is critical for developing and implementing programs that protect leatherback sea turtles.

For the past several years, National Aquarium staff members have helped Asociación ANAI and WIDECAST develop a sea turtle rescue program.

Aquarium experts conducted a training program that taught veterinary care and stranded animal rehabilitation to local staff and volunteers. We have also helped in gathering research data on nesting females and have been instrumental in supporting their satellite tagging program.

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