Leatherback turtle beaches in Costa Rica safe for now
Posted April 30, 2010
During the past couple of weeks, the future of Costa Rica’s Las Baulas National Marine Park - and the leatherback turtles that nest on its beaches - was hanging in the balance. Several members of the Legislative National Assembly were pushing for the approval of a bill to downgrade the status of the park before the end of the current session.
Costa Rican environmentalists mobilized to show support for the park. More than 16,000 NRDC BioGem Defenders joined in by sending messages urging the legislators to reject the proposed bill and work with local stakeholders to protect park lands. Late last week, a vote on the bill was narrowly averted due to an intervention by former Costa Rican President Abel Pacheco.
Today the leatherback nesting grounds are safe….at least for now. The Assembly wrapped up business without voting on the bill -- giving the leatherbacks some breathing room. The pressure worked, but the decision now goes to the next congress. Much will now depend on the lead of incoming President Laura Chinchilla who takes office in May. President Chinchilla will have the chance to act decisively to protect the Baulas Park and its turtles. This is an opportunity for Chinchilla to demonstrate that Costa Rica will remain an environmental leader among nations.
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