Last month Jairo Mora Sandoval, a 26-year-old conservationist who worked as a beach monitor for the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network, and four volunteers working to protect leatherback sea turtles on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica were abducted. The four foreign volunteers survived, but Mora was brutally beaten, bound and murdered.
The five were on sea turtle patrol when they were ambushed by masked men. To date the criminals have not been apprehended.
Mora had been vocal against drug traffickers and poachers who terrorize the beach -- we can't let his killers go unpunished.
The Center for Biological Diversity has joined other conservation groups in announcing a $56,000 reward for information on the brutal killing of Mora. Please take action now to call on the President of Costa Rica and the U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica to spare no resource in apprehending and convicting the killers and to protect sea turtle beaches from poachers and criminals.
I am writing to urge you to do everything within your power to find and convict the criminals who abducted five conservationists, including three Americans, who were working to protect sea turtles from poachers. One conservationist, native Costa Rican Jairo Mora Sandoval, was brutally beaten and murdered by these criminals.
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These crimes took place on May 30 and 31, 2013, at Moin Beach near Limón on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast. Swift action by the Costa Rican and American authorities will send a clear message to conservationists and tourists that murderous drug dealers and poachers do not rule Costa Rica's beaches.
Costa Rica is well known for its ecotourism and environmental stewardship. The beach where Mora was murdered supports several species of highly imperiled sea turtles, including the magnificent leatherback. Tourists come from around the world for the opportunity to volunteer their time helping these gentle giants survive as they run a gauntlet of human obstacles.
The attack has already had a chilling effect on the sea turtle conservation community, which is now afraid to risk more human lives. These sea turtles cannot not survive without the dedication of people like Mora and the volunteers who were kidnapped -- poachers will drive the species to extinction.
This is not the first time criminals have attacked sea turtle volunteers, but it must be the last.
Please take immediate action to ensure justice is done. Use every resource at your disposal to help bring these dangerous criminals to justice, and honor Mora's memory by designating the beach where he worked as a protected area.
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