Conservation organizations and individuals have raised $56,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of turtle egg poachers who murdered Jairo Mora Sandoval, a 26-year-old sea turtle conservationist earlier this month.
Contributions from ten organizations boosted the reward more than five-fold over the past week. Groups have also established a memorial fund for Sandoval.
“Jairo Mora Sandoval was a most dedicated and brave young biologist,” said Todd Steiner, a wildlife biologist and executive director of SeaTurtles.org, in a statement. “There can be no higher priority than protecting those who dedicate their lives to protecting others; we call on the government of Costa Rica to redouble its efforts to find Jairo’s killers.”
Sandoval was beaten to death after he was kidnapped and tortured by at least five masked assailants. Four female volunteers who were with him were also kidnapped but escaped.
(06/10/2013) On the evening of May 30th, 26-year-old Jairo Mora Sandoval was murdered on Moin beach near Limón, Costa Rica, the very stretch of sand where he courageously monitored sea turtle nests for years even as risks from poachers rose, including threats at gunpoint. A dedicated conservationist, Sandoval was kidnapped along with four women volunteers (three Americans and one from Spain) while driving along the beach looking for nesting sea turtles. Sandoval was separated from the women—who eventually escaped their captors—but the young Costa Rican was stripped naked, bound, and viciously beaten. Police found him the next day, face-down and handcuffed in the sand; Sandoval died of asphyxiation.