Welcome to Lapa Rios! As most of you might know, our family lives in an extended area of over 1,000 acres. Most of this area is pristine primary rainforest which we proudly take care off. Because of this luxury that we have allowed, we would like to present you with very important information regarding your behavior at our private reserve. This document includes information on the situation in the world, Costa Rica and how you can help.
The World Situation in General
- There is an agreement between different governments of the world called CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
- Annually, international wildlife trade is estimated to be worth billions of dollars and to include hundreds of millions of plant and animal specimens. The trade is diverse, ranging from live animals and plants to a vast array of wildlife products derived from them (i.e. food, leather, musical instruments, timber, tourist souvenirs, medicines, etc).
- Levels of exploitation of some animal and plant species are so high that, together with habitat loss and other factors, their populations could be depleted to even bring them to extinction.
- The trade in wild animals and plants crosses borders between countries; thus the importance of international cooperation.
- CITES accords varying degrees of protection to more than 30,000 species of animals and plants, whether they are traded as live specimens, fur coats or dried herbs.
- Not one species protected by CITES has become extinct as a result of trade since the Convention entered into force.
Costa Rica's Laws
- Wildlife is conformed by any flora or fauna that lives in natural conditions be it temporary or permanent, in national territory. These flora and fauna are never to be under a particular ownership unless specified by law.
- The production, manipulation, extraction, commercialization, industrialization and use of genetic material from our wild flora and fauna, its parts, products and sub products are declared national patrimony.
- The hunting, fishing and extraction of any flora and fauna declared in ways of extinction is prohibited, except in cases where "sustainable" reproduction is done in places with proper authorization.
- Natural Resources Vigilance Committees are volunteer organizations that exist in all parts of the country and are governed by the Ministry of Environment. Their purpose is to eliminate illegal hunting and deforestation. These committees, the COVIRENAS, are of great support to the Ministry of Environmental Protection and can be of great incentive for people from the community who want to protect their natural surroundings.
The Osa Peninsula
- The Osa Peninsula , in southwestern Costa Rica , and its immediate surroundings, is indeed unique and priceless. The Peninsula contains the finest example of lowland tropical rainforest in Central America . It is estimated that at least 50% of Costa Rica 's species are found in the area.
- The Osa Peninsula and Corcovado National Park demonstrate a great number of endemic species and contain many representatives of South American species found nowhere else in Central America.
- It has been suggested that due to its climate, location, topography and great variety of ecosystems, the Osa Peninsula is particularly conducive to the development of new species.
- The area also includes important marine resources, notably the Golfo Dulce, one of only four fjords in the tropics worldwide. Recently, observers have discovered that the Golfo Dulce is a calving area for both northern and southern Pacific populations of Humpback whales, a circumstance unknown anywhere else.
- The Sierpe-Terraba Wetland, to the north of the Peninsula , is amongst the largest mangrove forests on the Pacific coast of Central America , and has been designated as a Ramsar site for the protection of aquatic birds.
- "Jaguars, monkeys, and other wildlife are unable to evade the sights of poachers in the Osa Peninsula , where they are threatening even the animals of the Corcovado National Park. Researchers, biologists, and park wardens are urging the Government to act. They are also requesting the aid of international organizations in order to halt the massacre in one of the areas with the largest biodiversity in Costa Rica, therefore in the world. Experts pointed out that the population of jaguars has decreased from 150 to 50 in the last eight years, therefore the urgency to act before the great cat becomes extinct in this part of the world" La Nación, March 30, 2003
Our requirements at Lapa Rios:
- It is prohibited at Lapa Rios to feed any animals. Please do not take food into your bungalows, or leave snacks in the open. This will attract wild life into your room and create a bad habit in them.
- It is prohibited at Lapa Rios to extract any flora out of the forest. Please do not take any samples of plants, branches or flowers that you might find in our paths or nature trails.
- It is prohibited at Lapa Rios to hunt any wild animals. Please report any illegal or strange activity you might see along the trails, around the lodge or in its surrounding areas.
- Do not buy products derived from endangered flora or fauna species (i.e. fur, turtle eggs, turtle products, leather, ornamental plants, medicinal plants, etc).
- Do not extract any products from any forest.
- Protect nature, consult the proper authorities if you notice any illegal poaching (of flora or fauna).
- Do not buy live flora or fauna that are in extinction.
- For more detailed information on regulations or endangered species visit the CITES website at www.cites.org.
Thank you for choosing to stay with us. Your visit helps preserve the wild life in extinction! You are making a difference!