On a remote stretch of Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, the region’s lush, volcanic landscape gives way to a startlingly different world: a dry tropical forest — the last of its kind on the planet. Over 500 species of birds, wild pumas and ocelots, monkeys and 100 species of reptiles all make their home in this remote coastal oasis. And at the top of the food chain reigns the healthiest population of jaguars in Central America, thanks to a rewilding project that has brought the forest back to life.
The diversity of life in the forest is rivaled only by the waters just offshore, where among humpback whales, sharks and an abundance of dolphins, legions of Olive Ridley sea turtles gather every month preparing to emerge from the ocean for an ancient mass nesting ritual, the arribada. Between these two worlds lies one remote stretch of beach where two unlikely creatures— the sea turtle and the jaguar — meet with spectacular consequences for their species and for all of the creatures that share their environment.
JAGUAR BEACH is a first-of-its-kind film, rooted in an intimate jaguar family story, using the latest camera technology to explore the complex lives of these mysterious and powerful cats as they navigate this unique environment between the forest and the sea, mating, rearing cubs and learning to hunt in a highly unusual way.
The secret to these jaguars’ success is their discovery that there’s more to eat than what’s in the forest. Under cover of night, these cunning cats slip out of the trees and onto the sand to hunt unexpected prey: sea turtles.
But this isn’t a simple story of predator and prey. JAGUAR BEACH goes deep into current science investigating how the presence of jaguars affects the sea turtle population; could it be that the predators are actually protectors? As the jaguars prowl the beach, their presence may ward off other animals that would otherwise dig up and destroy the turtle nests. In exchange for the occasional sacrifice of a few adult turtles, jaguars may have become the guardians of the next generation of turtle hatchlings. And the sea turtles, in a mysterious cycle of migration far older than jaguars themselves, provide a key source of nourishment and support for a newly thriving apex predator, and the entire ecosystem of the dry forest around them. It’s a surprising and emotional tale of two species locked in a startling cycle of life, revealed in stunning detail for the first time on JAGUAR BEACH.
A production of Terra Mater Studios and Coneflower Films Studios in co-production with The WNET Group in association with PBS and CPB