- Laura Chinchilla, President of Costa Rica
Justice for Jairo, who was murdered by poachers for protecting sea turtles
On Thursday, May 30, Jairo Mora Sandoval, a 26-year-old conservationist, was kidnapped by sea turtle poachers. The next morning, his body was found on the beach where he had worked to protect endangered leatherback sea turtles. The Costa Rican government must respond to this shocking murder with swift action that sends a clear message to all sea turtle poachers that their actions will not be tolerated.
My name is Chris Pincetich and I am in Costa Rica now co-leading a volunteer ecotour to a Caribbean leatherback nesting beach. Illegal killing of turtles and poaching of their eggs is driving leatherbacks to extinction. Without conservationists on beach patrols that reach the nesting females and their nests before the poachers, sea turtles do not stand a chance. The brutal murder of Jairo Mora Sandoval has traumatized the conservation community and threatens the future of sea turtle ecotourism in Costa Rica.
Jairo had asked for protection and action from local authorities to stop the poaching, but it didn't work. We're asking the Costa Rican government to respond to his murder by committing police protection to the beaches where there have been threats and significant poaching levels to make these areas safe for sea turtles, conservationists and ecotourists. To ensure transparency and reassure the tourist community, the federal government should take over the investigation and ensure Jairo's killers are swiftly brought to justice.
Costa Rica’s economy rests on its reputation as a mecca for ecotourism, protection of the environment and its reputation as a safe haven for American and other international tourists. Ecotours, like the one co-sponsored by the Sea Turtle Restoration Project, bring millions of dollars each year to the Costa Rican economy. That's why the Costa Rican government needs to act decisively and swiftly to bring justice for Jairo Mora Sandoval, so that its economy and ecology can be protected.
Please sign the petition and let the Costa Rican government know that the whole world is watching and hoping for justice so that Costa Rica can earn back its peaceful reputation.
This is the moment when the Costa Rican government's response will either send a message that they want to protect their citizens, visitors, and wildlife, or that poachers are welcome to rule their beaches.
- Laura Chinchilla, President of Costa Rica
Immediate justice must be sought for the brutal murder of sea turtle conservation worker Jairo Mora Sandoval that took place Friday May 31, 2013 at Moin Beach on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Your leadership to capture these sea turtle poachers and prosecute them to the full extent of the law is needed now to send a clear message to all citizens, conservationists, and tourists that murderous drug dealers do not rule Costa Rica’s beaches.
Costa Rica is respected around the world for its history of ocean and environmental conservation and for its peaceful, safe society that supports ecotourism. The sea turtle conservation community is already feeling the shock waves from brave Jairo Mora Sandoval’s murder. His courageous hard work continues along hundreds of beaches at projects that rely on international tourists to support nightly beach patrols. Now that human and sea turtle lives are in jeopardy on Costa Rican beaches, the entire ecotourism economy is in jeopardy.
Please take swift and decisive action to send a clear message to all sea turtle poachers across that country that their illegal actions will no longer be tolerated. Jairo Mora Sandoval’s murder must be solved and the criminals punished. All the prayers of all the sea turtle conservation workers across the world can not bring Jairo Mora Sandoval back, but you and your administration can turn his tragic death into a historic turning point to end the threat of violence on sea turtle nesting beaches and end poaching in Costa Rica forever.
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