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Las Baulas Marine

Las Baulas Marine Park protects one of the most important nesting sites for Leatherback turtles (Tortuga Baula, Dermochelys coriacea) in the world. The park protects Grande, Carbón, Ventana and Langosta beaches, the Tamarindo estuary, the mangroves at Matapalo river mouth, the San Francisco River Estuary, and the hills of Morro and Hermosa.

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Playa Ventana and Playa Grande Costa RicaThis is one of the most important egg laying nesting sites of the Baula Turtle (Leather Back Turtle).  The Baula Turtle is the largest in the world growing up to 2.5 meters in size and 700kg in weight. The Baula is unique as it has a heavy skin instead of a shell and has extended front fins. Lora Turtles lay their eggs here, too. The  Leather Back Turtles (largest sea turtles in the world) come here to nest their eggs. This has been occurring for million of years but the amount of turtles returning each year is decreasing in shocking proportions.  This highly endangered species is threatened with extincion by egg poaching, development on land, but especially commercial fishing in which turtles drown by being tangled in fishing nets.

The gigantic leatherback turtles nest in Playa Grande from October to February. Most of their life they live in the sea, but lay their eggs in the sand, and they have very specific preferences about nesting sites. After 60 to 90 days the small turtles are born and try to reach the sea as fast as they can. On their way to the sea, a lot of predators (raccoons, crabs, birds, felids) eat the majority of the turtles, so only few of them can make it to the sea. Nonetheless, the main reason of the risk of extinction is not the mortality of the turtles as newborns but as adults. Sometimes they are hunted by people, but a lot of them die during incidental capture in gillnet and longline fisheries (especially in the Pacific coast).

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