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Tortuguero Sea Turtle Experiences: Leatherback Turtle Program

Eco-Volunteer: Leatherback Turtles

About Leatherback Sea Turtles

Leatherbacks are currently designated as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. They are the largest turtles on the planet, measuring up to seven feet long and growing up to 1,500 pounds, these gentle giants are a magnificent sight to see.

The black sand of the southern Tortuguero beach is important nesting habitat for leatherbacks, Dermochelys coriacea, the only sea turtle without a hard shell. Leatherbacks are killed for their body oil, which is used for fuel and medicinal purposes. These gentle giants are also vulnerable to marine pollution. Leatherbacks may die after eating floating plastic bags, which they apparently mistake for jellyfish -- their favorite food.

According to National Geographic the number of leatherbacks in the Atlantic seems to be stable or increasing, but the Pacific population is declining at an alarming rate. It is important for our scientists to track and study leatherbacks to learn more about how they can be saved.

What will I be doing on my Leatherback Adventure?

The Leatherback Adventure is a great way to support the much needed research that is done to help in understanding more about these endangered creatures. As a participant in this Adventure you will be able to work with researchers to find, tag, and record data about the leatherbacks. Counting turtle tracks on the sand helps scientists determine if that location is highly populated for nesting. Also, you will have the opportunity to help tag the nesting turtles. The tagging process helps reveal information on the life cycle and migratory patterns of certain sea turtle species, which aids in determining if that location has a growing or declining population of nesting turtles. You will get the chance of a lifetime to observe these fascinating animals up close and personal.

You will have ample free time for relaxation, exploring the area, going into town and interacting with the local villagers, meeting research biologists from around the world, and more!

When is Leatherback Season?

Nesting season for Leatherbacks ranges from March until June each year. Click here for more information on session dates.

How can I join this adventure?

To ensure your place:
1) Submit the Online Registration Form or call STC at (800) 678-7853 for initial registration, confirmation of dates, and contact number for travel information.
2) Secure your reservation with a $200 deposit as soon as possible.

To sign up for any of our Eco-Volunteer Adventures please contact the Sea Turtle Conservancy as soon as possible by phone or e-mail, or fill out our convenient online form.

Space is limited, so get yourself or a group signed up fast!


Sea Turtle Conservancy
4424 NW 13th St, Suite B-11
Gainesville, FL 32609
Phone: 352-373-6441
Fax: 352-375-2449
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