Karma CaseyKids Saving the Rainforest

Kids Saving the Rainforest – January 2019

Baby sea turtlesKSTR LogoBy Karma Casey

Happy New Year Quepolandia readers! It’s Karma from Kids Saving the Rainforest again. If you haven’t heard of us, we are a wildlife sanctuary and rescue center in Quepos, Costa Rica and we also plant trees, put up wildlife bridges, and help educate people on respecting wildlife! I’m the spokes-kid here. I moved all the way to Costa Rica to help animals!

This month I will be telling you about new beginnings. Not too long ago, my school, Life Project Education, and I took a field trip to Reserva Playa Tortuga, a great project in Ojachal that works very hard to help little baby sea turtles with their own new beginnings, and make their way safely out into the ocean where they belong! We learned all about sea turtles, did a beach clean-up, and much more!

Sea turtle swimmingSpeaking of beginnings, while at Reserva Playa Tortuga we got to visit the egg nursery! The egg nursery is where they put all the turtle eggs they collected from the beach. They collect them so those little turtles can grow in a safe place free from predators! The predators of sea turtle eggs include coatimundis, dogs, raccoons, iguanas, and the biggest predators—humans! The eggs are placed in a gated area on the Reserva Playa Tortuga property. When they hatch, the little hatchlings are brought out to the beach to swim out to sea and to start their beautiful new life in their ocean home!

Sadly, sea turtle eggs are poached and sold illegally to be eaten by people who do not think about what they are doing and how it affects the already endangered sea turtles. Even without these egg poachers, only one in a thousand sea turtles will ever make it to adulthood! They also face terrible threats such as being caught in fisherman’s nets, or having their shells sliced open by boat propellers. You may have seen my article a few months ago, when a magnificent Hawksbill sea turtle was sadly killed by a boat propeller right here in Manuel Antonio. Plastic trash floating in the ocean gets eaten by sea turtles, who mistake it for food. The adults are also hunted for meat.

Sea turtles are amazing animals. There used to be millions swimming in the ocean, but now there are less than one million left. It is up to us to help save them! During my sea turtle camp at school, we learned lots of amazing facts about these creatures. Did you know that the sand on the beach can act like a magnet? Sea turtles imprint on the magnetic field of the beach they are born on, and they use this to bring them back home to lay their own eggs. There are seven types of sea turtles, and each one is unique. There are Leatherbacks, Hawksbills, Green Sea Turtles, Kemp’s Ridley, Olive Ridley, and Loggerheads.

As it turned out, no new little babies had hatched out that day I went to Ojachal, so I and my classmates did not get the chance to see any of those new turtles have their new beginnings. But I stood on the beach that many hatchlings start out on, and I know many more will start new beautiful lives thanks to the people who are working so hard to help them there. All of us can have beautiful new beginnings, too! This New Year, start thinking of ways that you can have your own new beginnings.

How will you make the world a better place than it is right now? Will you recycle more, volunteer at a wildlife rescue like Kids Saving the Rainforest, pick up trash on the beach? Little changes add up, and you can start making them today! Be the change!

One great way to make a difference is to visit KSTR and come on a tour of our wildlife sanctuary. If you have a little more time, you can even come as a volunteer! The proceeds from tours and volunteering goes to support our work rescuing over 100 animals each year, and rehabilitating them so they too can have their own new beginnings back in the wild!

Don’t forget, if you find orphaned or injured wildlife near Quepos or Manuel Antonio, send a WhatsApp message to our veterinary team at 88-ANIMAL. We can help come to the rescue! Until next month, Quepolandia readers! Happy New Year from me and everyone at Kids Saving the Rainforest!