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The Year in Turtles


Some baby Olive Ridley sea turtles head for the Pacific Ocean. Photo by Luis Fonseca.

Olive Ridley Nests: 39,290

Olive Ridley Hatchlings: 2,063,299

Green Turtle Nests: 29

Green Turtle Hatchlings: 2,143

The numbers are in for the sea turtle conservation research program headed up by turtle biologist Luis Fonseca. As you can see, there were many turtles who nested on the studied beaches in Área de Conservación Guanacaste, but this year was actually the smallest in terms of overall numbers in the last 10 years. According to the sea turtle conservation organization SEE Turtles (which funds some of Fonseca's work, as does GDFCF), the 2022/23 turtle nesting season was low in terms of numbers throughout the Pacific Ocean. Fonseca notes that Olive Ridley turtles have many such fluctuations over time and this year's figures do not necessarily indicate a trend. As for Green Turtle numbers, the number of nests could have been higher, but 18 females were eaten by jaguars while attempting to nest.

Even though the number of Olive Ridley hatchlings was well over two million, few survive to adulthood. Estimates range from one in 1,000 to one in 10,000 surviving to adulthood, which means that we could expect anywhere from 206 to 2006 of the two million to survive.

All of Luis Fonseca's work is supported by donations. You can contribute to this critical research here. Please indicate in the notes section that your donation is for sea turtles.

An arribida, or mass nesting event, of Olive Ridley sea turtles in ACG. Photo by Luis Fonseca.