Pictures of tourists thwarting nesting sea turtles caused outrage and disgust when they went viral on social media two weeks ago. Sea turtles are once again arriving at Costa Rica’s Ostional beach to nest and this time they will receive a more respectful welcome, Costa Rican authorities promise. Officials from the country’s Environment Ministry Worker’s Union have put stricter controls in place on Ostional Beach and on the tourists and guides who want to view the nesting sea turtles.
Four of the six entrances to the beach have been closed and tourists are only allowed on the sand if they are wearing special wristbands and are accompanied by a guide. The tour groups must be limited to 10 people each and will only be allowed to spend half an hour viewing the nesting sea turtles. In addition, tourists will not be allowed to touch the turtles and they must keep a “safe distance” from the laying females. The rules will be enforced into the weekend, Nelson Marin, a representative for the Environment Ministry, said in a statement.
So far, more than 100,000 turtles have arrived at two beaches in Costa Rica where the nesting, known as an arribada, occurs. The arribadas only occur once or twice a month between August and November and it’s difficult to predict exactly when the turtles will arrive. The next event wasn’t expected until the first week of October, so the Environment Ministry Worker’s Union has hustled to publicize the new rules in order to keep the turtles safe and the public outrage in check.