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Sea turtles support sustainable livelihoods at Ostional, Costa Rica

  • Mallika Sardeshpande (a1) and Douglas MacMillan (a1)


Ostional in Costa Rica is the second largest nesting site of the olive ridley sea turtle Lepidochelys olivacea, which is categorized as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. In Ostional the local community helps maintain the nesting site and collects olive ridley eggs for consumption and trade within Costa Rica. Since its inception in 1987 the egg harvesting project has integrated sea turtle conservation with community development. We assessed the current status of this project in terms of community awareness, dependency, involvement and perceptions, using a household survey and semi-structured interviews with key informants. We also compared some of our findings with those of previous studies at the site, finding that the project has fewer dependents, primary livelihood activities have shifted towards tourism and hospitality, and respondents are more aware about environmental conservation and stewardship. We map outcomes of the project with the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework, and suggest that further capacity building for research and tourism could contribute towards sustaining the turtle population, local livelihoods, and the community-based conservation institution.

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Sea turtles support sustainable livelihoods at Ostional, Costa Rica

  • Mallika Sardeshpande (a1) and Douglas MacMillan (a1)


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