Jason Bradley wrote in last week to let us know that he has posted images from a recent trip to Playa Grande, Costa Rica, to document Leatherback turtle research. His images are being used in part for the Great Turtle Race, a unique conservation effort that tracks turtles as they leave their nesting areas and “race” toward feeding areas south of the Galapagos Islands.
April 8, 2007
RE: Photo documentary for the Great Turtle Race & www.bradleyphotographic.com‘s update.
To All Lovers of Wild Things,
In January of 2007 I accompanied Biologists from Stanford University and Drexel University to Playa Grande, Costa Rica to document their Leatherback turtle research, the local biodiversity, and the commercial and residential development currently threatening the last viable nesting beach of the Eastern Pacific leatherback turtle. Images from the expedition are being used in part for the Great Turtle Race (www.greatturtlerace.com). The teaser page is currently up and the actual Race starts on April 16th and runs through the 29th of April.
The Great Turtle Race is a unique conservation effort bringing several corporate sponsors together with conservation groups. Eleven companies each sponsor an individual turtles in the Great Turtle Race. Companies include: Dreyer’s Ice Cream, GITI Tires, Microsoft, Plantronics, Travelocity, West Marine and Yahoo. Non-corporate sponsors include Bullis Charter School in Los Altos, CA; Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA; Life Sciences Secondary School in New York, NY; and Offield Center for Billfish Studies. The Leatherback Trust, Conservation International, TOPP (Tagging of Pacific Predators), and the Costa Rican Ministry of Environment and Energy have all co-founded this event. The eleven sponsored turtles have been equipped with satellite tags and are “racing” toward feeding areas south of the Galapagos Islands after nesting at Playa Grande in Costa Rica’s Las Baulas National Park.
The leatherback is a 100 million-year-old, massive sea animal that outlived the dinosaurs, but is now dangerously close to extinction. Leatherback numbers have decreased at Playa Grande from thousands of nesting turtles 10 years ago to fewer than 100 in the last five years. In addition to raising money, the Great Turtle Race will also raise awareness about what individuals can do-no matter where they live-to help protect sea turtles in our daily actions.
For me, Playa Grande has been one of the best wild experiences I have ever had; consequently, it is also holds the most potential for tragedy that I have seen. Playa Grande must be saved for future generations. It is a truly magical place.
Please find my images from the expedition at the web addresses below. I hope they do Playa Grande justice, and I hope you enjoy them. Help cheer on your favorite turtle too.
Nature & Marine Photographer