December 6, 2019
The Wildlife Conservation Association's campaign to protect sea turtles and wildlife at the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge was featured in a National Geographic article by Douglas Main entitled, "This could be the biggest sea turtle swarm ever filmed."
A sea turtle sanctuary under threat
The article published on November 26 by National Geographic features a video filmed by Bezy during research of thousands of sea turtles massing near shore at Ostional. The article discusses the potential threat that tourism and development pose on the sea turtles and highlights the Wildlife Conservation Association's partnership with the Refuge administration and local guides to responsibly view the turtles without disturbing them.
The video was released by Bezy to inspire the public to care more about sea turtles and support protecting the area. Since the article was published, the video has gotten over 350,000 views, our website has had over 500 visits, and crowdfunding donations have started flooding in.
Our relationship with National Geographic
The Wildlife Conservation Association's Founder and President Vanessa Bezy is a 2012 National Geographic Explorer and has collaborated with National Geographic to feature her research and the sea turtles at the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge on several previous occasions.
Vanessa's dissertation research was featured in a short video clip and, in 2017, she collaborated with Filipe Deandrade on sea turtle episodes filmed for the NatGeoWILD web series "Untamed: Costa Rica." In 2018, Bezy facilitated photographer Thomas Peschak and writer Craig Welch's visit to Ostional for the article in the October 2019 issue "Sea turtles are surviving--Despite us." She also worked with Otto Whitehead to create a 360 degree video of the arribada phenomenon.
In 2019, Vanessa was selected to participate in the National Geographic Early Career Leadership program, which offers mentorship, media and leadership training, and project development guidance. After a weeklong orientation, participants presented their lightning talks at National Geographic Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Watch the 3-minute lightning talk presented by Bezy: