It’s hard to believe that Costa Rica houses over 250 endangered plant and animal species, but its dense forests are the canopy that many of these creatures seek. From rain forests, cloud forests and creeks to the magnificent Corcovado National Park all make excellent reasons for endangered creatures to seek shelter from intrusive binoculars.
If you’re visiting Costa Rica, keep an eye out for these endangered creatures that may be a tad easier to spot than say, an ocelot.
Green Sea Turtle
It’s hard to miss a creature that weighs over 300 pounds but the green sea turtle is named for a reason—the layer of fat beneath its hard shell is actually green. For Florida residents, they have been almost invisible, but are recently starting to return, according to an article in the Sarasota Herald Tribune. The reason for their decline is because they were considered a prize delicacy and hunted to the point of extinction. According to IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, there are less than 90,000 of these turtles remaining in the world, and you can spot some in Costa Rica.
If you spot one of these, pat yourself on the back. Or make sure you take a picture because no one will believe you. The scarlet macaw, as beautiful as its plumage suggests, is now sadly extinct in most of Central America. Costa Rica’s dense forests have a good size of scarlet macaws, however, and the chance of spotting one of these is actually quite probable.
You’re likely to have seen several scarlet macaws in the movies: in reality this species is quite hard to spot, so putting your binoculars on and looking beyond the obvious is a good idea. Macaws also tend to perch high up on trees, so look above you if you’re walking in the rainforests.
Hopefully, all the spotting of jaguar will occur from a long, long distance! The jaguar is a threatened species and needs a substantial amount of food to survive annually. It is the only species of Panther found in the Americas, and most common in Brazil.
The jaguar is actually the third largest feline in the world, after the lion and tiger, and people often confuse the jaguar with the leopard because of its spots.
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Photo credit: Loren Sztajer