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We at SEE Turtles/SEEtheWILD are deeply saddened and heartbroken by the murder of Costa Rican conservationist Jairo Mora Sandoval. Our condolences go out to his family, friends, and colleagues. Each of us has walked Costa Rica’s beaches with the pure-hearted goal he shared -- to help protect sea turtles -- and the loss of such a dedicated young man will be mourned by our family of sea turtle conservationists and ocean advocates around the world.
Mr. Mora Sandoval was working for WIDECAST Costa Rica, one of our closest partners and a recipient of funds from the Billion Baby Turtles program. He worked tirelessly at a beach in Moin, near the city of Limon, which is well known for its crime. Recent reports claim that people connected to the drug trade were illegally collecting sea turtle eggs as well as using the beach to transport their product. He recently spoke out in the media about this and our partners believe that his death was likely retribution.
Working with Jairo Mora Sandoval were several volunteers from the US and Spain. Thankfully, they escaped unharmed and did not appear to be targets in the crime. Every year, hundreds if not thousands of people go to Costa Rica to volunteer with sea turtle conservation organizations without incident. SEE Turtles works to ensure that the projects we send people to work with are safe and always in the company of local staff. We have not sent anyone to Moin Beach and the project has been closed.
We do not believe that there is a safety risk at the Las Tortugas Research Station or any of the other beaches that we recommend in Costa Rica or elsewhere.
SEE Turtles will be contributing both to a reward fund to help find the people responsible for Jairo’s death, as well as making a donation in his honor to WIDECAST Costa Rica. One thing we are asking people to do is to sign a petition to the Costa Rican government for swift and decisive action to make sure the perpetrators are caught and to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.
Rest in peace, young Jairo. We will continue to work for the sea turtles and the ocean you loved, in your memory.
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