LAS BAULAS NATIONAL
Parque Nacional Las Baulas, Costa Rica
Las Baulas National Park is located in Playa Grande, which is the beach just to the north of Playa Tamarindo. Costa Rica is one of the world's few remaining nesting sites of the leatherback turtles. The numbers of these giant marine reptiles are declining quickly world-wide, and they have all but disappeared completely from many historically important nesting areas. Various human activities including --beachside development, poaching of eggs and the accidental capture by fishing vessels have driven the species close to extinction.
The Las Baulas (Spanish for Leatherback Turtle) Project in Costa Rica is dedicated to protecting and understanding the population of turtles nesting in the National Park so that the species may be saved. The project takes place each year during the nesting season, late September - March.
THE GOALS OF THE LEATHERBACK PROJECT: 1. Identify the size & status of the nesting Leatherback Turtle population. 2. Protect the nesting female turtles and their nests from poachers and predators. 3. Develop effective management and conservation methods. 4. Help foster a better understanding of the Leatherback Turtles Biology, with qualitative and quantitative scientific research methods.
VOLUNTEER INFORMATION Information for volunteers and student internships is provided and coordinated through efforts of local non-profits, such as SDPUS.
THE WORK THEY DO:
Volunteers assist in almost all areas of the leatherback projects work, including collection of data on turtles each night, relocation of nests and preparation of equipment as required. Volunteers are supervised by biologists and given training on-site. The work is very "hands on" and involves close contact with the leatherback turtles. Most volunteers who help, generally do not have a biological background, so the project is both very rewarding and educational.
ALL ACCOMMODATIONS & FOOD:
Volunteers stay close to the beach in simple hotel style rooms with bathroom and air-conditioning. Volunteers and biologists live at the same location and the laboratory is close by. Meals are at local restaurants and everybody eats together. Special diets can be catered for in most cases.
We do a lot of walking, both on and off the beach, but we also have a van for longer trips. Volunteers and student interns need to arrange their own transportation to and from the field site.
In the field we have access to a telephone line which we use for phone, fax and email access (country code +011) 506 6166-4010.