green sea turtle hatchling 000007 Michael Carey

There’s a turtle war going on in Costa Rica. Every year, four of the world’s seven endangered species of marine turtles arrive there to nest. Although harvesting of all turtles and turtle eggs is illegal, they are still targeted frequently by poachers as well as being predated by animals.

Earthrace Conservation will be returning to Costa Rica for the fourth time in2015 and we are looking for volunteers willing to spend at least two weeks in the country, where they will be working with Earthrace alongside Pretoma, a local turtle protection organisation.

Pete Bethune from Earthrace with his team of ex-special forces personnel and other volunteers worked over three months in 2013 to rescue turtle nests, carefully transferring the eggs into a secure hatchery that they’d built, before successfully releasing newly-hatched baby turtles into the ocean. The team also monitored beaches with high levels of nest raiding, and several poachers were successfully apprehended.

Since then, USA Director, Gina Bryant, has organised two further missions in 2014 with volunteers to Costa Rica and is looking forward to this year’s season. If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact and she will be in touch with further details.

Footage from the 2013 turtle campaign is featured in Pete Bethune’s new Earthrace TV series, ‘The Operatives’, which has been aired in the US and New Zealand in 2014/15 and will be shown in Europe this year too.

Earthrace has a good track record of helping to protect sea turtles. The first campaign it ever undertook was back in February 2011 when Pete visited Trinidad to campaign with local group Papa Bois Conservation (formerly Trini Eco Warriors) to stop turtle hunting there.

At that time, he shocked Government Ministers into action by showing them a sea turtle he had rescued, tied up and still alive. The sea turtle was later released and tracked en route to Mexico; the law was changed to make hunting sea turtles illegal in September that year.

To find out more about volunteering for the 2014 Costa Rica turtle campaign, which begins 2nd August and will run until 4th October.

Photo credit: Michael Carey