We collected data on nesting ecology and identified individual turtles that nested at Parque Nacional Las Baulas, Costa Rica, one of the few remaining nesting sites for Pacific leatherbacks, from 1988–1989 to 1999–2000. We tagged individual female turtles with flipper tags and later with Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags that permitted permanent identification. During the full calendars years of 1990 and 1995, over 93% of nests were laid between the beginning of October and the end of February. We found that 92.4 ± 1% of nesting attempts resulted in successful oviposition, with a mean clutch size of 64.7 ± 1.4 yolked and 38.5 ± 1.0 yolkless eggs (n = 1389). Mean standard curved carapace length and curved carapace width during the surveyed years ranged from 144.4 ± 0.6 cm to 147.6 ± 0.3 cm and from 103.9 ± 0.3 cm to 105.5 ± 0.6 cm, respectively. Reproductive output as determined by estimated clutch frequency (ECF) ranged from 4.3 ± 0.2 to 7.9 ± 0.3 clutches per female per nesting season. The mean period between nesting seasons for an individual turtle was 3.7 ± 0.2 years; only 15% of turtles tagged in 1993/1994 returned to nest again within six years. The nesting population declined from 1367 adult females in 1988/1989 to 231 in 1999/2000. The decline in the nesting population was apparently because of the low incidence of turtles returning to nest in more than one season.

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