ASTOP stands for “ASOCIACION SALVEMOS LAS TORTUGAS DE PARISMINA” or “SAVE THE TURTLES OF PARISMINA”.
In May of 2014 Kimberly Vale, Managing Director at DMD embarked on a life changing trip to Parismina, Costa Rica to join ASTOP volunteers in helping to save and protect the sea turtle population. Kimberly has just returned from Costa Rica once again, making this her second year in a row as an ASTOP volunteer.
Every year from March to October these sea turtles come to the beaches of Parismina to lay their eggs. Unfortunately their numbers are dwindling due to poachers who are stealing the eggs and in some cases the turtles themselves, and selling them in the black market. As a volunteer Kimberly had to patrol the beaches at night with limited light for many hours to ensure the turtles had a safe environment where they could lay their eggs. During the day the volunteers helped the local community with gardening, painting, and they helped teach English to the village children.
Conditions on the island were harsh, they endured extremely hot and humid temperatures, swarms of insects and overall physical exhaustion, but thanks to Kimberly, other volunteers and the local community’s participation, the poaching of these incredible creatures has decreased by 38% since the program began.
Well done Kimberly!