Corcovado National Park
Corcovado National Park is located on the Osa Peninsula in southwest Costa Rica. This nature reserve is one of the most important in the country. National Geographic has called the park the most biologically intense place on Earth!
Southern Costa Rica: Corcovado National Park
More than 8 different habitats in Corcovado National Park, from primary forest to cloud forest to swampy alluvial plain. At least 13 different types of vegetation, including mangroves, palm swamps and a variety of plants to make botanists and nature lovers dream.
Mammals of Corcovado National Park
Corcovado National Park’s fauna includes numerous felines. Puma, ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), Margay, tiger cat (tigrina Leopardus), Jaguarundi (Herpailurus yaguaroundi) and the king of the jungle: the Jaguar. In addition, there are 140 mammal species, 367 bird species, 40 freshwater fish species and 117 amphibian species.
Giant anteaters, tapirs, raccoons, coatis, opossum, deer, spiders, 4 species of monkey (squirrel, spider, howler and white-faced), 2 species of sloth (2-toed and 3-toed) and a host of other tropical animals inhabit the Corcovado rainforest.
The marine fauna here is also exceptionally rich. Bottlenose dolphins can be seen around Isla de Caño and the Golfo Dulce, as well as humpback and pilot whales. Lutjanus, or yellow snapper, and centropomus robalito, or sea pike, abound in the region.
As for the sky, nature has been prolific in Corcovado National Park. Some 370 endemic, sedentary and migratory bird species can be observed. A birdwatcher’s paradise.
The forest side is home to the striped sparrowhawk (Micrastur ruficollis), the variegated penelope (Penelope purpurascens), the Rufus trogon, Swanson’s toucan (Ramphastos swainsonii) and the keeled toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus), while the light-billed woodpecker (Campephilus guatemalensis) is particularly common. The harpy eagle, once thought to be extinct, has recently been spotted in the park.
In marshy areas and lagoons, it’s common to find the Fierce Flycatcher (Myeiarchus ferox), the American Anhinga (Anhinga Anhinga), the Tiger Heron (mexicanum Tigrisoma), the White Spoonbill (Ajaja ajaja), the Mexican Jacana (Jacana spinosa), the Black-bellied Swan (Dendrocygna autumnalis) and several species of heron and kingfisher.
Migratory birds include, depending on the season, the Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola), the Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus), the Spotted Sandpiper, the Ring-necked Turnstone (Arenaria interpres), the Sanderling (Calidris alba), the Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri) and the Whimbrel (Numenius phaepus).
Protecting Corcovado National Park
A great deal of effort goes into preserving this paradise, which alone contains 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity!
The fight against poaching and hunting is a priority, with some fifty rangers working year-round throughout the area. In 2009, only 9 cases of illegal hunting were recorded. In a recent study, biologists observed an increase in the jaguar population, but also an increase in their prey. The balance seems to be right!
Let’s hope that the future will be just as happy, and that the actions of the authorities, forest rangers and biologists will enable this sanctuary to be saved.
Costa Rica Découverte recommends a visit to this region, which may be difficult to access, but is well worth a trip to Costa Rica.