Community Outreach, Marine Conservation, Sea Turtles

6th Annual Sea Turtle Festival

10672207_344762325692045_5765324763308272991_nOn a sunny October morning on Carate beach we had the joy of celebrating the 6th Annual Sea Turtle Festival. We had over 100 participants from the Carate community, neighboring communities and from Puerto Jimenez.

10644940_344788619022749_2245753174087839177_nTo the rhythm of music we begun the first friendly competition: Sandy Sea Turtle Sculptures, with the theme being that of “What does a Sea Turtle eat?” We had three winning families, and they each took home t-shirts with the festivals yearly logo on it. We continued the fun and celebration by opening up a racetrack where groups of 3 children had to respond to different questions about biology and sea turtle1891243_344763322358612_3668310734156387536_n conservation.

All the festival participants, children and adult alike, learned many different aspects of sea turtle adaptations, diseases, and how to evaluate a sea turtles health and how to provide rescue – training based off of real activities performed by “Reserva Playa Tortuga” (Beach Turtles Reserve). Osa Conservation’s workshop 1969177_344788485689429_4617132107964445939_ntaught participant about marcoinvertebrates that live in bodies of water and how to use quality indicators to evaluate water health.

Theater, charades, face painting, and recyclable turtle and jellyfish sculpting, were just some of the fun activities participants got to participate and enjoy throughout 10514511_344789089022702_6835697018030861342_nthe day. The whole event was rounded off by a wonderful lunch donated by the Carate community and Osa Conservation. What a great day!

If you would like to see more pictures click on the link to go to the Facebook Album!

Marine Conservation, Sea Turtles

Leatherback Sea Turtle Sighting on Peje Perro Beach, Osa Peninsula

123Written by Manuel Sanchez and Wanda Cope.

Photo by Manuel Sanchez. Translated by Florencia Franzini

 

It may be the world’s largest species of marine sea turtle, but it is also the most endangered sea turtle species, too. On October 16, 2014 we are delighted to announce that this critically endangered species still has the beaches of the Osa Peninsula as an safe nesting location. It’s gratifying evidence that all of the effort that have been put fourth to protect this majestic creature, along with the other six remaining species of marine turtles, have come to fruition – this is definitely another reason to keep fighting the good fight and continue on with our mission.

In 2004 the first nesting Leatherback turtle was spotted on the Peje Perro beach by Manuel Sanchez and Pablo Modena during a beach monitoring effort – since that year there has not been another sighting on the beach again. In 2013 it was identified that a leatherback turtle had laid one clutch in the 29th sector of the beach. Finally with much happiness we had another official sighting on October 16, 2014. Once again the sight chosen for nesting was on Peje Perro beach, and during the night patrol the tracks of a massive leatherback turtle were identified. Initially the tracks led to a false clutch nest site on sector 29 of the beach (the same site as the 2004 nest), but ultimately not but 500 meters away did the turtle attempt and succeed at the construction of a new nest to lay eggs in.

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Aves, Birds

Sighting of Yellow-billed Cotinga (Carpodectes antoniae) in the Piro area of the Osa Wildlife Refuge, Costa Rica.

Written by: Manuel Sánchez Mendoza & Pablo Porras Peñaranda

The Yellow-billed Cotinga (Carpodectes antoniae) is a regional endemic bird that occurs on the Pacific lowlands of southern Costa Rica and Northern Panama. This species is listed as Endangered (EN) by IUCN’s red list, and its small population, estimated at only 298 to 794 individuals, is thought to be declining rapidly. In the past years, Osa Conservation has led efforts to study this species and its habitat needs to conserve one of Osa Peninsula’s most unique treasures.

Observations of Yellow-billed Cotinga at several locations indicate that it requires access to mature fruits from Lauraceae, Annonaceae, Moraceae and other mixed forest tree species. Recent work by Osa Conservation has documented movement between mangrove and premontane tropical habitats during their suspected breeding season (December to June); however, spatial parameters of home range size and habitat use, and patterns of movements between breeding, feeding and roosting areas remain unknown. Few observations of Yellow-billed Cotingas exist within mangrove habitat during months the birds are thought to be non-breeding, which has lead researchers to believe that the species migrates or “wanders” locally or possibly attitudinally between July and November, but this has never been confirmed. Individuals have been observed at two inland sites on the Osa Peninsula several kilometers away from typical mangrove habitats between the months of September and November, but the breeding status and origin of these birds with respect to their reproductive grounds and their migratory movements is unknown.

The gaps in the natural history of the Yellow-billed Cotinga are slowly filled to technology and birdwatchers sharing their sightings as part of a big citizen-science network. The Yellow-billled Cotinga has been reported in new sightings throughout the Peninsula, specifically at the Osa Wildlife Refuge; nevertheless these sightings are still incredibly scarce and often have a large time-lapse between them. Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s eBird online platform last reported a sighting at the Lapa Rios’ property in 2011 (see map attached).

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Osa Conservation’s naturalist Manuel Sanchez Mendoza along with his brother and niece, Elfer Daniel Sanchez Mendoza and Jennifer Robles Sanchez, have been observing Turquoise Cotingas (Cotinga ridgwayi) at his house backyard (neighboring OC’s Piro Biological Station) foraging on “Aguacatillo” Trees (Lauracea family) for several days when on August 17th to his surprise, an adult male Yellow-billed Cotinga was with the group of birds feeding on that tree. This is a truly amazing report after three years of “silence” (picture attached).

C. Manuel Sanchez

This photo was taken by Manuel Sanchez at his home while observing Turquoise Cotinga’s with his family.