Remembering Jairo: A Sea Turtle Conservationist Story

Jairo Mora Sandoval will forever be remembered for his bravery and dedication in defending the sea turtles of Costa Rica.

seaturtles.orgImage source:

When a young Costa Rican conservationist, sea turtles and poachers collide – tragedy happens.  The life of the 26-year old Jairo Mora Sandoval is abruptly ended when he was abducted and killed during one of his nightly beach patrol to protect the nesting turtles and its eggs.

What lies beyond Costa Rica’s successful ecotourism?

Costa Rica pride itself with its abundant natural beauty making ecotourism a major boost to its economy.  Its warm and clear water is simply inviting to all water lovers to enjoy and appreciate the aquatic biodiversity.  The country’s surrounding waters are home to about 7,000 marines species and that’s from the ocean alone, imagine what more lies within its dense forest.

The country’s abundance surely attracts more than just tourist worldwide but illegal activities as well.  And although the country has a wild life conservation effort in place, which aims to protect particularly the sea turtles from poachers who are after its meat, eggs and shells – it proves to be not enough.

The particular beach where Jairo was taken is specifically targeted for the turtle eggs which will be then sold to drug traffickers.  It was a dirty world of smuggling, drugs, and poaching intertwined with the life of a dedicated environmentalist.

JairoImage courtesy of

Jairo Mora Sandoval, the sea turtle conservationist

Even at a young age, Jairo has always been involved in volunteer work.  This biology student regularly volunteers for WIDECAST whose efforts are directed to protecting turtle eggs across Central America.  Part of his job is to patrol the beaches every night to protect it from egg thieves.

It has been reported that sea turtle conservationist are well targeted with death threats, including Jairo in particular, with some instances as serious as being threatened at gunpoint.  They are being forced to stop the nightly patrol along the beaches.

Jairo as well as the other sea turtle conservationist knew that the threats are very real, forcing Jairo to use Facebook to particularly make his plea for police help with turtle-egg thieves be heard.

Weeks after the said posting, the tragedy happens during one of their nightly patrols.  Jairo was abducted that night and found dead the following day.

For Jairo’s legacy to continue

jairo 3Friends and other environmentalist in unison agrees, that for Jairo’s legacy to live on, they will need to continue the nightly patrolling along the beaches in spite of what happened.

These brave sea turtle conservationist, just like Jairo, are choosing to continue their advocacy and stand firm with what they believe. Highly commendable individuals who are willing to sacrifice even their own lives to protect these animals – they are truly amazing people.

Justice for this sea turtle conservationist

We are all in one in wishing that justice will be served for Jairo.  But let’s make it a better and safer world for the other entire sea turtle conservationist in Costa Rica by doing what you can.

Let’s keep Jairo’s legacy by never letting our guards down and continue on raising awareness.  Let’s all work together to protect, educate and inspire changes for the conservation of sea turtles.

Again, do what you can!  For now, SIGNING THIS PETITION is a good first step.

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