For those in love with wildlife and natural areas, the animals in Costa Rica and the places they inhabit are transcendent in beauty. Costa Rica is nearly equal in size to the state of West Virginia, yet it contains 5% of the world’s biodiversity despite its relatively miniscule size. The amount of plants, animals, and 300,000 species of insects are mind boggling!
A large portion of the 500,000+ species that live in Costa Rica are indigenous to the region, many of which exist nowhere else in the world. Various fish, snakes, frogs, birds, and rodents are among such species contained only here. There are multiple factors why Costa Rica flourishes with living organisms. Over ¼ of land in Costa Rica is protected by the government for national parks, wildlife reserves, refuges, etc. In addition, the government imposes heavy taxation on gasoline, and conversely offers an array of incentives to people to keep their land lush, rather than cutting it down for cattle farming.
The other major reason why animals in Costa Rica are so rampant is because of the amazing diversity in ecological zones and climates across the country, providing different ecosystems for a myriad of exotic species to inhabit. These diverse zones include rainforests, mangroves, dry pacific forests, paramo, cloud forests, and coral reefs. Varying wind patterns, changing altitudes, and other factors leads to extreme variation, creating the amazing array of animals in Costa Rica.
Some of the more popular animals in Costa Rica are howler monkeys and parrots, because of their loud vocalizations. Both the howler monkey and various types of parrots are extremely social animals and can be heard at great distance – the howler monkey up to 20 miles away, depending on conditions! Discussions among either animal serve as pleasant background noise during breakfast.
There is somewhat of a threat to biodiversity in Costa Rica, due to the growing real estate market, tourism, and cattle farming. More and more people are discovering how magnificent the country is, and soon after find out how accessible it is. Costa Rica is less than 6 hours by plane from New York, and just a couple hours away from southern parts of Florida and California. Despite incentives and other factors that protect certain portions of land, deforestation has increased in accordance to the spike in the value of land. However, cattle ranching is the leading cause of deforestation, one of the major reasons incentives have been placed on tree farming or other economic uses for land. At the moment, with government protection of land and increasing incentives for protecting land, the magical animals in Costa Rica will continue to flourish for the foreseeable future.