ALTHOUGH a series of animal deaths caused the temporary closure of Corcovado National Park, in the country’s Southern Zone, starting last week, Osa Conservation Area Director Alvaro Ugalde said this week that no more losses have been reported in recent days.
However, the park will remain closed to visitors until Dec. 20 to give time for results of lab analyses of blood samples from the dead animals – which included monkeys, toucans and sloths – to arrive from Texas, according to Ugalde.
So far, samples analyzed at the Universidad Nacional (UNA) in the province of Heredia have tested negative for malaria, a result that has made Ugalde optimistic, he told The Tico Times.
In addition, fruit trees around the park have started blossoming, meaning food is on its way for the animals, which may have starved to death, Ugalde said.
Members of the Osa Tourism Chamber and hotel owners in the area have not expressed concern about losing tourists because of the park closure (TT, Dec. 9).
However, officials from the Corcovado Tourism Chamber, based in Puerto Jiménez, a port town on the Osa Peninsula, have expressed a different sentiment.
According to Salma Polanco, vice-president of the chamber, on Dec. 5, the day the park closed, approximately 25 tourists announced they would leave Puerto Jiménez, considered a popular gateway to the park.
“The problem is that the Osa Peninsula has not received publicity as a destination.
The focus has gone solely to Corcovado, and that’s what tourists come for,” she said, explaining that the peninsula is much more than just Corcovado, with spectacular beaches along the gulf coast and primary forest and fauna throughout.