Crowds of tourists stop turtles from nesting

Hundreds of tourists crowd important refuge in Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s environment ministry has released shocking photos of tourists invading one of the world’s most important nesting sites for turtles, preventing the animals from reaching their nesting spots.
Hundreds of tourists crowded the beach at the Ostional Wildlife Refuge in Guanacaste last week, standing in the way of the olive ridley sea turtles, causing them to return to the sea without laying their eggs, the Environment Ministry’s Workers Union (SITRAMINAE) said.
Huge numbers of the turtles arrive in the area almost every month, but September and October are the peak months. Tourism companies are capitalising on the season and increasing tours to watch the turtles nest.
Refuge administrator Carlos Hernández told the daily La Nación that he had never seen so many people on the beach. Some tourists reportedly touched the turtles while others stood on top of nests and some parents placed their children on the turtles to take photos.
The refuge is guarded by only two park rangers. Last weekend they received help from three National Police officers but they were unable to control the situation.
Hernández said visitors should only enter the beach with a licensed tour guide, but many had entered using unauthorised access points from nearby locations. Officials are meeting with police officers, local tour guide associations and community leaders to better implement control.
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