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Jaguar V Sea Turtle-A Conservation Conversation.
The following is a link to a recent story about Jaguars feeding on nesting Green turtles in the north eastern edge of Costa Rica.
- Into the Costa Rican wild: Jaguars feast on sea turtles (PHOTOS, VIDEO) | GlobalPost
Jaguars normally live solo — but not in Costa Rica’s Tortuguero park, where more than a dozen roam together, preying on endangered green turtles.
If you don't want to read the article, that is fine--you won't get to see the photos of Jaguars or the trail-cam video of one eating a turtle.
That being said, some have called for protection of the turtles from the Jaguars. After all, these are pregnant females loaded with up to 150 eggs lumbering out of the water and are easy prey for 200lb jaguars. There is a natural human instinct to protect the females and shun the predators. However, nature does not work that way. Jaguars are predators. Turtles are prey.
There was a time that hungry people ate millions of sea turtle eggs and used sea turtle meat for food as well. In fact it is due to this that now sea turtles are endangered species. Right or wrong everybody loves easy food. Humans and Jaguars are similar in this way as well.
However, with an estimated 200,000 nesting female Green Sea Turtles(according to Google), the turtles are in much better shape as a species compared to the Jaguar. The same source listed only 15,000 Jaguars left on earth.
The Green Turtles are an equatorial species laying eggs on beaches around the world. Each female may lay several 100 plus clutches of eggs annually. While predation is heavy, there is a decent survival rate. The protection turtles are given leads us to believe that their population is on the rise.
Discounting those in the world's zoos, Jaguars are living in a situation where decreasing land is leading to decreasing numbers. The 15,000 big cats range is limited to large tracts of forest in Central America and South America. The female may give birth to a cub or two every year. That is a very slow re-population rate compared to the turtles. The populations of Jaguars is likely shrinking.
Therefore in this case, I believe that it is important to let nature take her course and let the predators do what they do best.