Flourishing wildlife awaits in Costa Rica
- by crv.staff
- 10:00 AM UTC
Source: The Daily Aztec
Orchids, butterflies, iguana, crocodiles, slots and monkeys fill the lush surroundings. It may seem impossible, but the tiny country of Costa Rica — although only about one-eighth the size of California — contains the greatest density of species in the world.
Within only 19,730 square miles of tropical rainforests, volcanoes, mountains, beaches and urbanized cities reside more than 850 identified species of birds, 9,000 identified species of vascular plants, more than 900 different trees species and roughly 1,500 species of orchids. Many people might be shocked to know Costa Rica even has a small jaguar population.
The list is endless for this Central American country that acts as a bridge between North and South America, which is one reason it has so many different species — because it has become a bridge for many exotic creatures to travel from north to south and vice versa.
Besides the migrating species, there are still plenty of endemic species — species that originated in Costa Rica — such as the Mangrove Hummingbird and the Sulphur-winged Parakeet.
With all this amazing wildlife, Costa Rica has taken special care to conserve its tropical areas and the species. It is known worldwide for its conservation efforts with groups such as the Costa Rica Conservation Trust and the Costa Rica Conservation Federation. Also, Costa Rican environmentalist Carlos Manuel Rodriguez received the Blue Moon Fund’s first annual Conservation Leadership Award.
As tourism grows to an all-time high, some hotels have joined efforts to help conserve and run as sustainably as possible.
About 25 percent of the country is conserved within the protected areas, which consist of national parks, biological reserves, forest reserves and wildlife refuges.
Pan American Health Organization estimates that about 75 percent of the air pollution is caused by transportation. That is more than likely after seeing bus after bus go by with thick black and even blue clouds of exhaust that billow out and stick to the humid air.
Between hunters, deforestation and pollution problems, there are about 155 endangered species of plants and animals in Costa Rica.
“As commercial and residential lands get developed they leave nature on the outskirts, literally,” said James Botti, a student from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who is studying in Costa Rica. “Most residents here that I have seen or spoken to do not fully realize the immense benefit that the climate and geography of Costa Rica add to their daily lives.”
INBio Park is a facility known globally for its amazing educational exhibits of wildlife from re-created environments such as cloud rainforests and coffee farms. Aside from informing citizens and visitors — especially kids — it also contains laboratories where, according to its Web site, it studies chemical substances and genes present in plants, insects, marine organisms and microorganisms. This information may be used by the pharmaceutical, medical, biotechnology and cosmetic industries, and also in nutritional and agricultural applications.
This park is a great way to not only experience firsthand Costa Rica’s immense diversity, but also to gain a better understanding of the environment and world.
As with anything, there are positive and negative aspects of Costa Rica. But apart from the growing pollution and urban development, it still manages to host some of the most unique species and beautiful sights.
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