Representatives from 70 Nations, and All Central American Countries, Sign Petition to Protect Eastern Pacific’s Foremost Leatherback Nesting Beach

(November 3, 2008 – San José, Costa Rica)

Burgeoning support to protect Costa Rica´s Las Baulas Marine National Park has drawn international corroboration at the IUCN’s recent World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, Spain October 5-14.  Over 300 hundred participants, among foreign diplomats, heads of state, and NGO presidents from over 70 different nations, including, 16 Latin American countries and every Central American country, voiced their support by signing a letter addressed to the Costa Rican Congress that calls for the continued strict protection of this National Park, which hosts the most important leatherback sea turtle nesting colony in the Eastern Pacific.

The undertaking responds to two proposals (16.915 and 16.916) to amend the law that created the National Park, thus reducing its boundaries.  Beachfront protection would be removed, allowing for development projects to compromise the protective strip of land that buffers the leatherback’s nesting beach.

“Costa Rica knows it has a great responsibility, which is why Las Baulas National Park was declared since 1991 to protect the nesting beach from developments that could alter the nesting habitat”, said Randall Arauz, President of Pretoma.  “Until now, it has been possible to foil plans to develop the nesting beach due to the protection offered by the law that created the National Park, which explains why the developers, with the support of a few congressmen who have their own interests, are now trying to change the law itself”, explained Arauz.

Pretoma, an active member of the IUCN since 2004, turned to the international audience to foment support for the National Park.  What resulted was overwhelming support for the critically endangered leatherback sea turtle, and the strict protection of its terrestrial nesting habitat.

“This sends a clear message to the Costa Rican authorities”, said Miguel Gómez, Pretoma’s Campaigns Coordinator.  “The global conservation community is closely observing Costa Rica’s actions to protect leatherback turtles, and expects the nation to stand up to its international standards”, affirmed Gómez.

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    Representatives from 70 Nations, and All Central American Countries, Sign Petition to Protect Eastern Pacific's Foremost Leatherback Nesting Beach (November 3, 2008 - San José, Costa Rica) Burgeoning support to protect Costa Rica´s Las Baulas Marine National Park has drawn international corroboration at the IUCN's recent World Conservation Congress in Barcelona,...