Rewards total $56,000 in murder of turtle worker

Conservation organizations said that they have posted rewards totaling $56,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those who murdered Jairo Mora Sandoval.

Mora, 26, appears to have been beaten and smothered in sand by masked men who intercepted his vehicle early May 31 in Moín. He was active in the continuing effort to protect and raise sea turtles that nest on the beach.

Among those posting a reward is Capt. Paul Watson, the fugitive founder of the Sea Shepherd Society. He is sought by Costa Rica in an unrelated boating incident.

Mora worked for Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network. He was traveling about 11:30 p.m May 30 toward a beach turtle refuge when he stopped for a tree placed in the roadway. Four women, including three U.S. volunteers, with him were abducted but released a short time later.

Investigators have not concluded that the murder involved the man’s work with turtles, but that is the dominant theory of the motive.

“Jairo Mora Sandoval was a most dedicated and brave young biologist,” said Todd Steiner, a wildlife biologist and executive director of, in a release. “There can be no higher priority than protecting those who dedicate their lives to protecting others. We call on the government of Costa Rica to redouble its efforts to find Jairo’s killers.”

“The global outpouring of support to demand justice for Jairo and his family has been inspiring,” said Jaclyn Lopez, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “We will not give up this fight until Jairo’s killers have been convicted and the beaches are safe for sea turtles and people alike.” She also was quoted in a release.

Those wishing to donate can contact Steinere HERE!

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