Goldman Prize honors Costa Rican activist

April 20th, 2010

Costa Rican biologist Randall Arauz forced his government to enforce its laws to protect endangered shark species from slaughter just for their fins.

This made him winners of one of six Goldman Environmental Prize being presented today in San Francisco. The prize, the largest for grass-roots activists in the world, comes with a $150,000 check for each of six recipients, one for each inhabited continent.

Stopping shark cruelty

Arauz began as a sea turtle biologist who helped found the Association for the Restoration of Sea Turtles. But in investigating the fishing practices associated with turtle deaths, he realized a larger problem in his nation was Taiwanese fishing boats coming to Costa Rican waters to fish for sharks. “They hack the fins off, then throw the still-living shark overboard,” Arauz says.

He has been fighting a legal battle for three years to force these foreign fishing fleets to follow Costa Rican law, which requires that sharks caught in the country have their fins attached.

Finning, which feeds a growing Asian appetite for sharks’ fin soup, is unsustainable and cruel but unregulated in many places, Arauz says. “The flesh of the shark is only worth 50 cents a pound, whereas the fins are worth $60 to $70 a pound, so to fishermen, the limiting factor is the space in their hold. If they hack the fins off and only bring the fins, they can capture more.”

He says he’ll use the Goldman prize money to get off-road vehicles so the staff can get down to beaches where sea turtles lay their eggs.

Source: USA TODAY  Read Full Article Click here
Learn more about the Goldman prize. Click here

Randall Arauz of Costa Rica fought against fishermen who cut off  sharks' fins and then throw the sharks back.
By Will Parrinello
Randall Arauz of Costa Rica fought against fishermen who cut off sharks’ fins and then throw the sharks back.
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Manuel Antonio National Park

December 18th, 2009

Manuel Antonio National Park is a small biological reserve within an area that caters to different activities, like agriculture, the raising of cattle and high tourist development. Located on Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast, in the province of Puntarenas.

It was established on November 15th, 1972 and has 683 hectares (16.24 Km2 – 4,014 acres) of land and 55000 hectares of sea.


The area that currently constitutes the park was originally acquired by foreigners that did not allow the locals to access the park. This situation motivated the implementation of a pro – park National Committee that persuaded the national and local authorities to declare the area a National Park.

Part of the forest is in process of regeneration, since in the past it suffered deforestation of a variety of selective trees for timber purposes. Another important attraction is the very humid tropical forest where endangered species of flora and fauna can be found.

Several short trails, all of them are easily accessible and well maintained; provide the best opportunity in Costa Rica to see the beach and rain forest in one place.

The trails tend to follow the coastline supplying beautiful views and easy access to four beaches, Manuel Antonio beach, Espadilla Sur beach, Puerto Escondido beach and Playitas beach. All of them safe for swimming and great for snorkeling and diving.

Located in the wildlife area called “very humid tropical forest”, mangroves beach, vegetation, marine environments, islands and lagoon, conform one of the most riches places in the country.

The flora that can be found within the primary forest are the Guacimo Colorado( Luehea seemannii ), Cedro amargo ( Cedrela odorata ), Guapinol ( Hymenaea courbaril ), Sura ( Terminalia oblonda ), Black Guapinol( Cynometra hemitomophylla ), Cenizaro tree ( Samanea saman ), and many different species. The mangrove consists of three species: Manglar Colorado tree (Rhizophora mangle), White Mangle tree (Lagunculario racemosa), and Black Mangle tree (Avicennia germinans). On the beach, there is a poisonous tree that has a milky substance and poisonous fruits, Manzanillo tree (Hippomane mancinella), beware! The Almond tree (Terminalia catappa), Savanna Oak tree (Tabebuia rosea ), and the Coconut conform the flora.

You can watch several species of fauna like­: Raccoons ( Procyon cancrivorus), Coatis ( Nasua narica ), Agoutis ( Dasyprocta punctata ), White tail deer ( Odocoileus virginianus), Two toed Sloth ( Choloepus huffmanni), Three- Toed Sloth ( Bradypus variegates ), White faced Monkeys ( Cebus capucinus ), Squirrell Monkeys ( Saimiri oerstedii), Howler Monkeys ( Alouatta palliata), and Spider Monkey ( Ateles geoffroyi ), most of them in endangered.


Species of birds like Toucans, Pelicans, Pigeons, Guacos, Green King Fishers, Fishing Sparrow Hawks and other species like Iguanas, Garrobos, Snakes, Insects, Whales, Dolphins  and so many different species.

Entrance: $ 10 per person

Hours: 7:00 am to 4:00 pm, Closed on Monday.



Why are they so slow?

  • Their gestation period is 11 months, born even with formed teeth and eyes wide opened.
  • They can reach 15 inches and can weight from 9 to 20 pounds, apt for reproduction at the age of 3 years.
  • Each Sloth lives along on top of the trees and will only go down to fulfill its needs every week .They feed on almond and Guarumo tree leaves have four kinds of stomach. Their digestion takes four weeks approximate.
  • They go that slow for their need to save all possible energy as the leaves they feed on provide them with very few calories.
  • Their long nails are the best weapon, they are not aggressive animals.
  • There are five Sloth species and they only live in the tropical forest , two types in Costa Rica : Two toed sloth – Three toed sloth.
  • They are so pretty that they look like stuffed animals , so now you know : When you come down to Manuel Antonio be attentive at the top of the trees or maybe you get lucky and the sloth finds you first.

Written by Memo

(Pictures by Randall Ortega Sanchez)

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Welcome to an exceptional nation

December 4th, 2009

Costa Rican’s have good reasons to be proud of these (51,100 km/2) 19,730 square miles of the Central American isthmus.

Amid regional warfare, poverty, illness and underdevelopment, Costa Rican’s have carved an Oasis of relative well-being. And they’ve done it with good humor, vision, ingenuity, public debate and plenty of luck.

As a result , this nation of 4 millions has more to show off than it’s two coastlines of palm-fringed sand and surf, rumbling volcanoes, intricate ecosystems boasting some of the world’s most beautiful samplings of exotic flora and fauna and a national park system that protects 25% percent of national territory. Active tectonic plates and a ‘ fire down below’ that regularly vents it’s pent-up rage through five active volcanoes – Arenal, Rincon de la Vieja, Poas, Irazu and Turrialba – make Costa Rica a mountainous nation with a geographical feel of something still in progress.


Another seven volcanoes – Tenorio, Miravalles, Orosi, Cacho Negro, Platanar and Barva – are “sleeping’’ but could grumble to life at any time. And extinct volcanoes number 100 on land and 100 at sea approximately.

The abundance of these fire mountains both sleeping and active, gives rise to dozens of ‘micro climates’ responsible for the country’s biodiversity.


Two coasts, and amazing variety of climates and a geographical foothold between two continents, Costa Rica is regarded as one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world.

This distinction is even more amazing considering the country’s diminutive size of just 19,730 square miles. Barely 0,03 percent of all flora and fauna on earth.

If you have any comments or questions feel free to contact me.

Memo Jimenez
Naturalistic Guide
Stay In Costa Rica

(Pictures by Randall Ortega Chaves)

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