Clinic News

Maryke and Tammy Travel to Costa Rica to Work with Turtles

In November 2016, two of our Registered Veterinary Technicians, Tammy and Maryke, had the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica! They were in Playa Blanca in Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica working with Hawksbill and Pacific Green sea turtles with an organization called LAST (Latin American Sea Turtles). They worked hands on with turtles, as well as helped to maintain and monitor the turtles’ habitat and ecosystem that they rely on for survival. Each day presented new tasks such as ensuring that garbage was off the beaches, as this is harmful for the turtles, collecting mangrove seeds so they can be planted in the nursery, transporting mangrove trees from the nursery and planting them for further growth, and educating the public about littering as it is harmful to the turtles and other creatures of the sea.

Some of the other days were dedicated “beach days” which included boating out to a secluded area for the day where they would net and track the turtles. Netting and tracking the turtles allows LAST to monitor where the turtles travel and the frequency with which they pass through those specific areas. LAST has permits for 7 locations along the coast to put nets down so that they can accomplish this. Each turtle that has been netted is thoroughly examined to ensure it is healthy, measurements are recorded so they can be compared to previous measurements, tagged so that it can be tracked if netted again in the future, and then released. 

1“Rowena” was netted and found to be in poor condition. She was taken back to the rehabilitation centre where she was placed  in a fresh water bath for 48 hours to kill any parasites and               barnacles that  were on her shell. She received subcutaneous fluids daily as well as tube feedings. We weighed her twice daily to ensure that she was receiving the proper amount of nutrients. 




2Maryke and Tammy on one of the beach days. They were boated out to an area (along with the Research assistants) and would be there for a majority of the day.





3Mangrove seeds thrive in mud! One of the tasks, was collecting mud in wheelbarrows and bringing it to the nursery to plant the seeds. Definitely not a clean job!





4Maryke and Tammy in the mangrove nursery. The nursery had over 3000 mangroves, all at different stages of growth. They all needed to be shifted and rotated weekly so that they didn’t root in the nursery. At the back, some of the taller mangroves are ready to be moved and planted.






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