2013 Leatherback Turtle Surveys Recreate Previous Nesting Census

CAVU and Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC, Formerly Caribbean Conservation Corporation) have renewed efforts to carry out annual nesting surveys along the Caribbean coasts of Costa Rica and Panama. Beginning at the border with Nicaragua this multi-day survey covered the entire coastline ending at the Comarca Ngöbe-Buglé, Panama. Data from this survey will help to assess population and nesting beach preference. Preliminary review of the data from April 2013 suggests that approximately 200 leatherback nests were recorded by the two observers (Dr. Emma Harrison – STC and Luis Fonseca – WIDECAST). After the flights Dr. Harrison noted-  “It is really important for sea turtle biologists to view things on a regional scale, not focus solely on trends at individual beaches.  The aerial surveys are one way of adopting this more regional perspective; which can be hard at times when working at one specific location within the leatherback nesting range.  However, only by regarding this entire coastline, from Nicaragua down into Panama, as a whole can we start to make more informed conservation and resource management decisions, which will ultimately ensure the future survival of this critically endangered species.”

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