Costa Rica – Ostional National Wildlife Refuge
After Nancite Beach in Santa Rosa National Park, the second most important nesting site for turtles in Costa Rica is the National Wild Life Refuge Ostional that is located in the Nicoya Peninsula in the Province of Guanacaste. The Wildlife Refuge Ostonial as is known is a 200-meter strip of beach bordered in the north by Punta India and the south by Punta Guiones and Nosara. This refuge also extends three miles into the sea and includes the tiny village of Ostonial. This refuge not only protects millions of turtles that nest each year but also cares for and protects marine life and wild birds in the area.
Surrounded by Ostonial Beach, Playa Guiones and Playa Nosara, the Wild Refuge Ostonial protects the Olive Ridley sea turtles as well as the Leatherback sea turtles and the Green sea turtle of the Pacific that comes to the beach in large numbers every year to mating and put their eggs during the months of July and December. This phenomenon is known as “ambadas” occurs 4 to 10 times during this period and lasts from 3 to 10 days each.
It is thought that a large percentage of the Turtles of the Pacific Olive Ridley of the world lay their eggs in the Ostonial Wildlife Refuge. To date, the largest “ambada” recorded in the shelter occurred in November 1995, when an estimated of 500,000 female turtles come to the beach to nest.
The refuge was officially established in 1984 and is the only place in the world where it is allowed the harvesting of turtle eggs, legally. `This was done to prevent the theft of eggs and at the same time to help the community of Ostonial. With this project, in the park is allowed to collect a percentage of eggs of each “ambada” for selling.