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The WCA Biodiversity Program




The WCA Biodiversity Program was born out of a desire to foster holistic environmental conservation and awareness in Nosara. We know that all living things on the planet are interconnected; our work stemmed from a desire to protect sea turtles and their nesting habits in Ostional, and grew to include multiple programs focusing on everything from Marine Biology to Water Quality monitoring. Our Biodiversity program is just another piece in the complex puzzle of environmental stewardship, one that we continue to promote in both our community and beyond.


What makes Costa Rica’s biodiversity so unique?

Costa Rica’s landmass accounts for only 0.03% of the entire planet's surface, yet this incredible region is home to 5% of the species worldwide and is among the 20 richest countries in terms of biodiversity per area. You can find more species here compared to larger countries like Brazil or Colombia.


Within its borders, which represents around 19,729 square miles, Costa Rica is estimated to host half a million species. In this small country you can find 8,500 plants, 220 reptiles, 160 amphibians, and 205 mammals. Costa Rica is also home to 850 observed bird species, which is more than in all of the United States and Canada, combined!


This data paints a picture of an oasis teeming with rich flora and fauna, poised on the brink of becoming seriously impacted by the rapid speed of economic development and real estate growth. In Nosara, we all feel the strain of this rapid expansion. The WCA seeks to protect this beautiful place we call home, holistically, with its work to record species living in the area, promote citizens to become environmental stewards and share our exciting findings with the community.


A Black Spiny-tailed Iguana, observed by user kawickens on iNaturalist in Nosara

 

How can you get involved?

The WCA works with programs like iNaturalist to record and capture species observations in Nosara.

The Nosara Biodiversity Project is a long-term biodiversity study of the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding buffer zone in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. We promote citizen science to collect biodiversity data that can be incorporated into the study, which will result in the creation of an interactive freely accessible map with biodiversity and development data to support policy and regulations for wildlife conservation and sustainable development.


Anyone can become a citizen scientist and share observations with their fellow explorers directly on their page. Whenever you’re out and about and spy a critter, snap a photo and head to iNaturalist.org or the iNaturalist app (Available for iOs and Android users) to record your observation. Since starting our project in March 2020, we've now grown our citizen science database to include over 10,000 observations of more than 1,700 species!


Camera Traps

We're also thrilled to announce that we've installed 16 camera traps in Ostional, Nosara, and Esperanza thanks to a collaboration with the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge, Del Mar Academy, Harmony Projects, Nosara Civic Association, and private landowners. We review footage on a monthly basis and the photos are uploaded to both our iNaturalist page, Facebook and Instagram, so you can follow along and share in our excitement! We are pleased to share some of our standout creatures from the last few months:


Tayra (Eira barbara), Margay​ (Leopardus wiedii) and White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus)


Interested in sponsoring a camera trap? You can contribute to this amazing project with a one time donation of $500 that covers camera trap purchase, installation, and continued upkeep. Make a donation today!


Video: Camera trap installation with the Nosara Civic Association as a part of our collaboration to monitor wildlife in Nosara in December 2022. Video by Diego Israel Flores @octopus_visual_art.


Image: Video: Camera trap installation with the Nosara Civic Association as a part of our collaboration to monitor wildlife in Nosara in December 2022. Photo by Diego Israel Flores @octopus_visual_art.


What’s next for the Biodiversity Program?

In 2024 we expect to continue to grow this program with the purchase and installation of additional camera traps in Pelada and Ostional. We hope to grow our iNaturalist community with giveaways for sharing the page and getting other community members involved, so stay tuned for that coming soon!


Do you have suggestions for how you’d like to see the WCA foster environmental protection in Nosara? Go ahead and reach out directly to get a collaboration started!

 

References


Santamaría, R. (2020, October 21). What makes Costa Rica's biodiversity so unique? CPI Spanish Immersion School Costa Rica. Retrieved December 15, 2022, from https://www.cpi-edu.com/blog/22-online-spanish/273-what-makes-costa-rica-s-biodiversity-so-unique



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WILDLIFE CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION

ENVIRONMENT • SUSTAINABILITY • EDUCATION

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