Make all turtle harvests illegal to stop the poaching

Ms. Wilcox misses the bigger picture with her observations regarding the “legal” turtle egg harvest in Playa Ostional.

She points out that the vast majority of eggs in the first 36 hours of the arribada, turtle laying time, are dug up by other sea turtles.  Those eggs dug up naturally provide lots of nutrients and food for a huge variety of other creatures that live in the sea or in or around the tidal zone.  Those eggs actually don’t really go to waste they are all part of the food chain and thus part of the ecosystem to function normally.

She mentions that the community tends to protect these beaches from other predators.  The real predators are humans.  Again, there are natural predators, but they don’t consume over three million eggs each season.

Another thing that was mentioned, that the flood of eggs entering the market legally keeps prices low enough to discourage poachers.  Ms. Wilcox needs to live in other parts of the country to see how many eggs are poached all over Costa Rica.  Most of the eggs sold in the open markets are illegal.  By making any turtle eggs legal, it opens the door to sell illegal eggs as legal.  Many bags are stamped to resemble the Ostional stamp of approval, but no one checks to see if it is the real stamp or just a forgery.  The way to stop selling illegal eggs is to make, selling turtle eggs illegal altogether.

The best approach is to get many people to stop eating them.  Many male Costa Ricans eat them cause they think it makes them virile.  What we need to do is hit the male machismo where it counts.  I have made a bumper sticker for my car that says, “Los huevones, no necesitan a comer los huevos de tortugas”.  Translated; Men with balls, don’t need to eat turtle eggs.  I get a lot of smiles and thumbs up from many a Tico, men and women, when they read it.

Henry Kantrowitz
Punta Leona

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