Pura Vida Bracelets has created a collection to support the conservationists as they save Costa Rica’s sea turtles. The bracelets were created after 26-year-old environmentalist and biology student, Jairo Mora Sandoval, was found dead on the beach where he used to help to protect in Costa Rica.
According to the Pura Vida Bracelets, on the night of May 31st, Sandoval, who worked for the non-profit organization Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (Widecast), was murdered being struck with a blunt object to his head. His body was found naked at Moin Beach and his throat was full of sand, reported to be a malicious message towards the conservationists by turtle poachers.
Yet, according to conservationists, “The sand in his mouth is a clear message of someone who was trying to silence him,” says Pura Vida Bracelets’s blog. He was killed because he was fighting for a cause to protect leatherback turtles from poachers.
Before his murder, Sandoval posted on his Facebook page a plea to the local police to take action against the egg poachers on Moin Beach. The deceased student and his volunteer team were planning to measure the large soft-shelled specimens that painfully made their way up the dunes. They also planned to patrol several miles of sand to protect the nests from poachers, who were stealing eggs every night.
On the same night of the crime, four other environmentalist women were found tied up in a nearby abandoned house. Although the cause of the attack remains unclear, the murder has other consequences.
Additionally, environmentalists believe that the murder can trigger an internal crisis in Costa Rica, a country that proudly touts its conservationist credentials. They fear that Sandoval’s death could be a turning point for tourism, which makes up about 5% of Costa Rica’s GDP.
“Working on turtle conservation has always been difficult, and now everyone is surely going to be scared of trying to help,” says Aimee Leslie, the head of the World Wildlife Foundation’s marine turtle efforts.
Pura Vida Bracelets also says that environmentalists fear future attacks, which could also disappoint conservation activities in other parts of the country, and further endangering species like the leatherback turtles.
After the crime, the Widecast has announced that it would close its program in Moin for security concerns. Therefore, turtle conservation projects have been threatened because of the murder, and they need funding to remain open. Pura Vida Bracelets is worried about this situation in Costa Rica and created a bracelet to help support the turtle conservationists. The company will donate the profits to the Sea Turtle Conservancy, formerly known as the Caribbean Conservation Corporation. The organization is the world’s oldest sea turtle research and conservation group and has been established in Costa Rica since 1959.