Sad to say, a creature that has lived in the Pacific Ocean off Costa Rica for 150 million years is severly threatened. And all it took was humans.
Sea turtles have become so scarce that the Leatherback Sea Turtle National Park and a related museum in Playa Grande are both defunct, for all practical (and tourist) purposes.
What happened? Beach development, drift net fishing and Costa Ricans' custom of eating turtle eggs, that's what happened. However, climate change is the overarching reason. It has caused rising seas, more violent storm surges and slow increases in beach temperature (which can result in all-female populations -- obviously a problem.)
Heroic efforts are being made to artifically cool turtle nests and protect coastal property from development so turtles have a place to nest as the sea rises. But the back of the beach is already fillled with hotels, restaurants and planted trees, giving the sand no place to go. "Turtles will have to find their way between the tennis courts and swimming pools," as one person observed.
The ultimate irony: many of those who enjoy slurping turtle eggs in bars from a shot glass . . . have never seen a turtle.