Environmentalists say the Environmental Ministry needs to dedicate federal enforcement to patrol the beach, and that without intensive, regular protection, the turtles will be in danger. "This problem will not be solved until they send members of the government to protect the turtles," said Didiher Chacón, Costa Rica's director for the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Network.
Vanessa Lizano, who runs the state-sponsored animal rescue group for which Sandoval worked. "I'm just devastated," she told the Tico Times. "At this point it's the poachers who rule the beach and we can't do anything until the police or the government try to stop it."
Though Costa Rica is generally considered the most environmentally friendly country in Latin America (and has been ranked the greenest country in the world), it still struggles with appropriate protection. The Caribbean coast is a major nesting site for sea turtles, especially the critically endangered leatherback, and the country has outlawed poaching their eggs. But there's still a thriving trade in turtle eggs, prized as an aphrodisiac.