Last week, we learned that thousands of selfie-snapping garbage humans drove hundreds of thousands of olive ridley sea turtles away from their nesting grounds in Costa Rica. But the turtles are back, and this time, the Costa Rican government isn’t messing around.
Two weeks ago, the guides on duty at Ostional Beach were overwhelmed by the deluge of purported adults who wanted to gawk at, pick up, and ride threatened wild animals during their sensitive breeding period. The turtles were naturally frightened by these giant flesh monsters, and left the beach in droves without laying their eggs. The disaster sparked international outrage and a swift response from the Costa Rican government, which has since dispatched additional law enforcement to the region.
— Oceana (@Oceana) September 16, 2015
On Tuesday, officials closed down four of the beach’s six entrances. Only small guided tour groups are allowed to enter now, according to The New York Times. Visitors cannot touch the turtles or use flash photography, and they have to keep a safe distance from nesting females.
The new security measures came just in time. The sea turtles weren’t expected to attempt another mass nesting, called an arribada, until early October. But arribadas are unpredictable, and this week, more than 100,000 sea turtles returned to the beach.
It’s heartening to see the Costa Rican government making a clear statement that protecting wild animals is a priority. It’s a bit less inspiring to realise that the average human being needs to be treated like a toddler.