Target: Co-Chairs of RIU Hotels Carmen Riu and Luis Riu
Goal: Protest resort development on the nesting sites of endangered sea turtles
Backed by tropical forest and bordered by the Pacific Ocean, the still relatively pristine Matapalo Beach is home to over 200 nesting sites of the green and black species of sea turtles. All 200 of those nesting sites face a real threat from RIU Hotels, a Spanish resort consortium that incorporates Mexican and German investors as well. The Regulatory Plan authorizing RIU’s permit to develop the resort at Matapalo failed to account for both a geologist’s account of the natural history of Guanacaste’s nesting sites, and concerns about the potential environmental impact of the project.
According to the Costa Rica Star, the initial Regulatory Plan for the project drew concern from the Environmental and Technical Secretariat of Costa Rica. Review of the plan produced various questions as to the resort’s environmental impact. However, the answers provided were somehow distorted, allegedly at the hands of those desiring the project to go through uninhibited.
Noise pollution from beach resorts can greatly disturb sea turtles. According to PRETOMA, a leading marine conservation organization in Costa Rica, white light flooding the beach confuses newly hatched baby turtles that instinctively orient themselves by the white caps of the waves. Tragically, instead of making their way to the ocean, the hatchlings follow the lights of resorts, where they are found dead in the morning on the doorsteps of perturbed guests.
Now is the moment to speak out against RIU Hotels. The hotel has no excuse not to take active measures to protect sea turtles – reducing light and noise pollution and supporting local volunteer conservation efforts would be good places to start. By signing the petition below, you can send a message that we will not allow endangered animals to suffer for the sake of making a profit.
Dear Carmen Riu and Luis Riu,
Your resort on Playa Matapalo in Costa Rica’s Guanacaste region presents a serious legal and environmental threat. The permit authorizing the resort’s construction neglected a geological record of the beach’s natural history as a nesting site for endangered sea turtles. Matapalo is home to over 200 nesting sites of the green and black species of sea turtles, the numbers of which are dwindling due to pollution, poaching, and habitat destruction from developments such as this one.
Noise pollution from beach resorts can greatly disturb sea turtles. According to PRETOMA, a leading marine conservation organization in Costa Rica, white light flooding the beach confuses newly hatched baby turtles that instinctively orient themselves by the white caps of the waves.
It is not just the hundreds of nesting sites at Matapalo that hang in the balance. Disrupting the nesting of green and black sea turtles could also impact other beaches with large nesting sites such as Ostional and Cabuyal. The combined beaches of this Pacific Northwest area in Costa Rica make up one of the world’s most vital sea turtle nesting areas.
There is no excuse not to take active measures to protect the sea turtles. Reducing light and noise pollution and supporting local volunteer conservation efforts are good places to start. I write to make clear that endangerment of animals for the sake of making a profit is unacceptable. Your immediate action to counteract the already real threat to these turtles is essential.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Candice Chandler via globalanimal.org