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Scientists Ask President To Protect Leatherbacks

March 16, 2007

More than 200 scientists from around the world have sent a letter to President Oscar Arias asking him to protect beaches in the northwestern Guanacaste province, where endangered leatherback turtles nest.

According to a statement from the Marine Turtle Restoration Program (PRETOMA), the letter urges Arias to curb the “irresponsible real estate development” that is destroying these beaches and infringing on the Las Baulas National Marine Park.

“The current development of tourism infrastructure on our beautiful Guanacaste coast is out of control, and municipal authorities have shown they lack not just resources, but also political will to adequately comply with regulations,” said PRETOMA president Randall Arauz said in the statement.

The letter, signed at the International Sea Turtle Symposium held late last month in the U.S. state of South Carolina, points out that numbers of this fragile species dropped 90% during the past 20 years and could plummet to extinction in the Pacific within 15 years.

Foreign real estate investors continue to eye the beach, and the international conservation community is pleading with Arias to “save it from its imminent destruction,” the statement said.

 

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