Protection of sea turtles and wild animals: Turtle Tracker Program

The Turtle Tracker Program was implemented in 2004 by a committee composed of representatives of Tortuguero Conservation Area (ACTO for its Spanish acronym), the community, the Caribbean Conservation Corporation (CCC) and the area’s hotel industry. Its main goal is to reduce the impact of tourism during the nesting process of sea turtles in Tortuguero Beach.

When nesting, sea turtles get scared easily if there are many people walking along the beach; so to prevent them from returning to the sea without having laid their eggs, trained trackers locate the turtle that’s laying eggs and send the exact location by radio to the tour guides for observation. Then the guides take a parallel trail to take tourists to watch the turtle.

This program has proven successful as it has: 

•Reduced the impact of visitors on sea turtles. 

•Increased the capacity of the public beach and Tortuguero National Park so that more visitors can observe the nesting. 

•Created new jobs for the community of Tortuguero. 

•Improved the service quality offered to visitors while observing the nesting of sea turtles. 

Thanks to a proposal of the committee in 2007 and to the support of ProParques, a new operating system will be implemented in order to guarantee the financial sustainability of the Turtle Tracker Program. 

Together with the hotel industry of the area, tourist guides and travel agencies, the Turtle Tracker Program will receive donations from tourists coming to Tortuguero to witness the amazing natural experience of sea turtle nesting.

The tourist may support the program by donating CRC2,000.00 (approximately USD4.00) and will receive a sticker to be displayed proudly while walking in the beach as a sponsor of the Turtle Tracker Program, that protects the sea turtles and helps the community of Tortuguero.

All proceeds coming from the donations of travelers to the Turtle Tracker Program will be administered by the CCC and, according to the agreement of the members of the committee, those funds shall be invested, exclusively, to guarantee the program’s sustainability, to support Tortuguero National Park and environmental projects of the community that will result in better health and education conditions; thus improving the quality of life of local residents. 

This way, the visitor becomes a crucial help for the community’s development because it is not just about getting there, touring and going back home, but about contributing to secure the region’s long-term environmental and social welfare.Desde el 2004, un comité conformado por representantes del Área de Conservación Tortuguero (ACTO), la comunidad local, Caribbean Conservation Corporation (CCC), y la industria hotelera de la zona ha implementado el Programa de Rastreadores cuyo principal objetivo es reducir el impacto de la visitación turística durante el proceso de anidación de las especies de tortugas marinas que desovan en la Playa de Tortuguero.