Sea Shepherd Conservation Society announced Thursday its sea turtle defense campaign Operation Jairo, to take place this summer in three regions critical to nesting sea turtles and their hatchlings: southeastern Florida, Honduras and Costa Rica.
Last season Sea Shepherd was involved in sea turtle defense campaigns in Costa Rica, Honduras and Cape Verde, where nearly 10,000 sea turtles were released to the ocean, providing them with a safe head start, said the organization.
Among the sites to be patrolled by Sea Shepherd volunteers this season is Moin Beach in Costa Rica’s Limón province, the site of the tragic murder of young turtle conservationist Jairo Mora Sandoval, the organization said. In honor of his work to protect the turtles he cherished so deeply, Sea Shepherd has named both a vessel and this upcoming campaign after him, it added.
Sea Shepherd said its Operation Jairo campaign will span the peak nesting or hatching months for sea turtles in all three locations, in an effort to save as many hatchlings as possible, giving the next generations of these endangered species a fighting chance at survival.
Returning to Costa Rica following 2014 anti-poaching campaign Operation Pacuare, which resulted in nearly 3,000 sea turtles saved, Sea Shepherd will once again protect hawksbill, green and leatherback sea turtles from poachers on Pacuare Beach in Costa Rica’s Limón province from May 31 until September, the organization said. This year, Operation Jairo will see Sea Shepherd volunteers standing watch along Moin Beach. Mora was murdered on May 31, 2013, while on his way to protect sea turtle nests, and is widely believed to have been killed by poachers. Suspects in the case were acquitted in a court trial.
Sea turtles are protected by law in Costa Rica, but poaching remains commonplace. Locals take eggs, which are believed to be an aphrodisiac, and sell them on the black market, Sea Shepherd noted. The turtle egg trade has been linked to drug trafficking and organized crime, it added. In the wake of Jairo’s death, the organization he worked with canceled beach patrol efforts in Costa Rica. However, Sea Shepherd said it has vowed not to leave the turtles of Moin Beach unprotected.
Sea Shepherd said it is now accepting applications for dedicated and passionate volunteers in all three campaign locations. The organization said it is seeking volunteers who are at least 18 years of age and who are able to commit to participating in the campaign for a period of two weeks or longer. Sea Shepherd said it is also seeking volunteers with training and/or a professional background in videography and photography to assist with campaign media production, and those who are fluent in Spanish.
Anyone interested in joining Operation Jairo, should please visit: http://www.seashepherd.org/get-involved/ground-crew.html, the organization said.