Police and environmental investigators confiscated 170 rings and bracelets from a Christmas fair in Los Angeles de Heredia because the products were made with the shell of an endangered species of turtle.
The report comes from the Programa Restauracion de Tiburones y Tortugas Marinas. The organization credited environmentalist Claudio Quesada for spotting the illegal products on sale in five booths at the event.
The hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) is a critically endangered species according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and trade in its products is strictly prohibited by Costa Rican law, the organization said. The animal is called the carey in Spanish.
Vendors said that the products had come from Nicaragua, raising the possibility of illegal international trade in turtle products, said Maike Heidemeyer of the organization, it reported.
Although hawksbill products are still for sale in fairs and during other activities, this confiscation showed that joint collaboration between authorities and non-profit organizations can be an efficient way of derailing their sale, said the organization.
Also involved were conservation area employees for the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía.
The Programa Restauracion said that hawksbill products can be confused with items made with horn or coco nut, which also are seen at such fairs.