The nesting of the Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) sea turtle was studied from 2006 to 2012 in Drake Bay, Costa Rica, an important solitary nesting site and center of eco-tourism in the Osa Peninsula. During this period, 958 nests were recorded (mean: 136.9 nests per season; density: 3.8 nests/100m of beach per season), of which 38% were relocated to a hatchery. The incidence of poaching was reduced from 85% in 2005 to a mean of 10.1% from 2006-2012. A total of 335 nesting females were tagged; the mean curved length of carapace was 66.1cm, the mean curved width was 70.2cm, and the mean number of eggs per nest was 96.3. A mean rate of reproductive success of 79.2% was obtained and over 61 000 hatchlings were liberated from the hatchery. This project is an example of a successful community-based conservation and eco-tourism initiative.

Keywords: Olive Ridley, Cheloniidae, nesting biology, sea turtle, poaching, community-based conservation.