A young biologist slain by a gang of drug traffickers and Leatherback Turtle egg poachers will be honored by the now famous Sea Shephard as it looks to patrol nesting turtles.
Jairo Mora was a mere 26 years old when he was beaten, stripped and dragged to his death while trying to protect eggs from being poached near Moín in the Province of Limón, Costa Rica, in 2013. All seven of the men implicated in the case were acquitted of the crime due to a failure to provide evidence properly by the prosecution. The case and crime are a veritable tragedy, but, hopefully, there is a little light at the end of the tunnel.
From May 31st to September of 2015 the crew of the now famous Sea Shepherd, an environmental group which has been featured on Animal Planet’s Whale Wars TV program, will be patrolling the waters of Honduras and Costa Rica in hopes of helping in the plight of Hawksbill, Green and Leatherback Sea Turtles. They have named this season’s patrol, “Operation Jairo,” in honor of the slain Jairo Mora which also named one the ships in their fleet after Mora. Mora’s close friend and fellow sea turtle advocate, Vanessa Lizano, believes this is too little too late.
The Sea Shepherd’s most notable member is its founder Paul Watson who is wanted for various acts against whaling companies and others in multiple countries including Costa Rica has petitioned the Costa Rican government and President Luis Guillermo Solís to drop the charges against him. Up to this point, the charges are still pending. Paul Watson has said that he will not join his crew for fear that he will be detained and possibly incarcerated in Costa Rica if he intervenes with poachers at Moín.
Unlike the Tortuguero National Park in the Province of Limón, there are little to no sanctions protecting the critically endangered Leatherback Sea Turtles at Moín. Many poachers in the area are also known drug runners, and are generally delinquents. Of the seven men implicated in the death of Jairo Mora, four were charged for another early crime of assault and rape which took place around the same location as the attack on Mora.
There are many areas of Costa Rica under government protection, and conservation is an important issue, but the battle continues in areas of the country including Moín and Grecia where a Toucan grabbed international attention after receiving a beating that destroyed its beak earlier this year.