Jack Petchey Foundation
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Stories we are proud of

Laura King - Big Cats, Turtles and Primates Programme in Costa Rica

Laura's Costa Rican Conservation Adventure!

25 year old Laura King from Brightlingsea in Essex has returned from an incredible conservation placement in Costa Rica where she worked as a Research Assistant on Frontier’s Big Cats, Turtles and Primates programme.

University of Leicester graduate Laura was supported on the venture by the Jack Petchey Foundation after she successfully bid for an Individual Grants for Volunteering Grant. She also organised a curry night for friends and family and sold homemade jewellery to raise funds for the trip and the cause.

Laura spent the majority of time on the Osa Peninsula which is home to at least half of all species in Costa Rica. Although the country covers just 0.03% of the world’s landmass, it is home to an incredible 500,000 species. The peninsula provides access to the Corcovado National Park, where Laura carried out population density surveys on a range of different species including birds, primates, anuran (tailless amphibians), butterflies and turtles.

“The turtle patrols were particularly hands on, conducted twice a day in the morning and night. I measured and recorded the turtle tracks and the location of the nests – and helped to relocate any nests in areas susceptible to flooding to purpose built hatcheries. It was truly memorable to see the hatchlings for the first time. The first ones I saw were Hawksbills, which are listed as critically endangered. We then weighed and measured the hatchlings before releasing them into the wild.”

Laura, who has a degree in Chemistry, aims to develop a career protecting wildlife and the rainforest and believes the time she spent in Costa Rica has given her the necessary experiences to develop her career goals.

She also brought back a habit of vegetarianism, as she was unable to eat meat during her time in Costa Rica because there were no appropriate storage facilities on the camp.

“Costa Rica was such an incredible experience. I have furthered my knowledge of the effects of climate change, developed my confidence and teamwork skills and gained an amazing group of new friends.”

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Laura searching for a turtle chamber!