Here at Reserva Playa Tortuga, we do a lot of research on the Olive Ridley turtles that nest on our beach. Here are 5 things we think you should know about Olive Ridley sea turtles.
1. Olive ridleys, also known as lepidochelys olivacea, are classified by the IUCN as “Threatened” despite being one of the most abundant species of sea turtles. If numbers keep declining, the olive ridleys will likely be bumped to “Endangered.”
2. One of the major threats facing these sea turtles is the human impact on their habitats. Playa Tortuga is an olive ridley nesting beach. What this means is that adult females will arrive on our beach to nest and lay eggs. These nests, however, can be endangered or even destroyed, by the use of motorcycles on the beach, or by poachers that want to steal the eggs. During nesting season, the staff and volunteers at Reserva Playa Tortuga do daily and nightly beach patrols in order to help protect the nesting turtles and their nests.
3. There are also natural, environmental factors that affect the Playa Tortuga habitat, such as sand erosion. The Balso River empties into the ocean here and the ever-changing path of the river, combined with ocean tidal factors, is constantly creating shifts in the beach landscape. If a nest is endangered by these factors, staff here at Reserva Playa Tortuga will relocate it to our protected beach hatchery.
4. Adult olive ridley females generally range in size from 60 cm to 72 cm. Here at RPT, the length of the largest turtle we have recorded is 75 cm.
5. Each season at Playa Tortuga, there are approximately 4,000 baby olive ridley turtles that hatch and crawl out into the ocean. The mortality rate for baby turtles is high, however. Generally, only 1 out of every 1,000 baby turtles will survive to adulthood. This makes the conservation efforts even more vitally important.
See our Research Articles for more in-depth information on the studies conducted at Reserva Playa Tortuga.
Want to make a difference? Come volunteer at Reserva Playa Tortuga. Not only will you be helping the conservation and research efforts for the olive ridley sea turtles, you’ll be experiencing the “pura vida” lifestyle of beautiful Costa Rica.