Spotlight: Jairo Mora Sandoval, Costa Rican Turtle Protector

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“It was his passion, he believed in saving the turtles. He could walk 20 miles along the beach watching and marking turtle nests,” said Didier Chacon, Widecast project coordinator for Latin America.

Jairo Mora Sandoval, a 26-year-old conservationist, spent much of his time working for the conservation of Costa Rica’s leatherback turtle nesting areas. He was, by all accounts, passionate, dedicated, smart and very courageous.

On the last day of May, he was murdered, brutally, senselessly, in an act that appears tied to his conservation work.

Jairo was patrolling Moín Beach that night, a leatherback turtle nesting area, for conservation group WIDECAST. After his murder, WIDECAST suspended all beach patrols. But fellow conservationist Vanessa Lizzano has pointed out that patrols must continue, somehow – “If we forget about this beach, then Jairo died for nothing,” she said.

Oceanwire joins his family and colleagues, Costa Ricans and the global conservation community in mourning this tragic and needless loss, and we urge our readers to add their voices to the chorus demanding that his murderers be found and convicted, and that conservation of Jairo’s passion – Costa Rica’s sea turtles – continue, with all necessary protections.

Here’s what you can do:

Sign petitions to Costa Rica’s president demanding action here and here. (sign both – why not?). Let them know the world is watching.

Donate here to the reward fund for the capture and conviction of the killers (scroll to bottom of page to find donation link).

Read about him here (Wikipedia), here (Dot Earth/NY Times), here (UK’s Independent), and here (Costa Rica’s Tico Times).

Spread the word.

      Na waimaka o ka lani.  

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