September and October are busy months in the Pacific seaside village of Ostional. It's el arribada (the arrival). Hundreds of sea turtles clamber up the beach to lay eggs in the warm sand. Each lays about 100 eggs. In two months, the baby turtles hatch and crawl to the sea. Sea-turtle eggs are worth lots of money.
La Arribada (The Arrival)
They are baked into breads and cakes or hard boiled to be eaten as snacks. Many people of Ostional depend on egg sales as part of their income. In addition birds, dogs, and other animals dig up the eggs or capture the hatchling turtles before the young reptiles reach the sea. This deadly combination puts the turtles in danger. The turtles' troubles became a problem for Ostional residents because fewer turtles mean fewer eggs for people, too.
Scientists at the University of Costa Rica came up with a plan to save the turtle population. These days only the villagers of Ostional can gather the eggs. They are allowed 3 million eggs out of the 30 million laid each year. After the collection, the villagers spend two months protecting the rest of the eggs from people who might steal them and from animals who might dig them up.
When the eggs hatch, the villagers make sure the baby turtles get to sea without being eaten.
The money the villagers make from egg sales goes toward hiring teachers, building health centers, and improving schools. So the arrangement benefits the villagers and the turtles, too!