Recent conservationist fundraising that has yielded thousands of dollars and a brand new park ranger station at CorcovadoNational Park are among the efforts to preserve the OsaPeninsula, an area in the Southern Zone that biologists estimate houses 1-3% of flora that does not exist anywhere else on the planet, according to the Osa Campaign.
The efforts have concentrated on replenishing the peninsula’s decimated jaguar and peccary populations, which dropped dramatically in recent years because of poaching.
From 2000 to 2004, the jaguar population decreased from 100 to 40-50 individuals, while peccaries, the jaguars’ food source, went from 2,000 in 1999, to 300-400 last year (TT, Sept. 9, 2005).
Members of the National Osa Campaign Committee, the local component of an international fundraising effort to preserve the OsaPeninsula, launched a campaign earlier this month to attract more Costa Rican donors.
Since it began in 2003, the Osa Campaign has collected more than $17 million mostly in international donations, according to campaign marketing director Sandra Fraga.
However, the campaign aims to collect a total of $32.5 million to complete four main goals that include buying private lands within Corcovado and Piedras Blancas national parks and improving management of the peninsula’s other reserves. The campaign also aims to turn a mostly privately owned 85,000-hectare area plagued by poaching and deforestation into a biological corridor between Corcovado and Piedras Blancas.
Of the total funds, at least $3 million must be collected in Costa Rica, Fraga said, explaining that conservation of the OsaPeninsula is a matter that demands the commitment of Costa Ricans.
During the March 18 national campaign launch, held at the home of William Abraham, one of the National Osa Campaign Committee’s seven members and general manager of Intel Costa Rica, $25,000 were raised, which the Costa Rica-USA Foundation (CRUSA) has pledged to match, Fraga said.
CRUSA, a private, bi-nat ional nonprofit foundation that supports sustainable development in Costa Rica, has pledged to match up to $3 million through its challenge grant to the campaign.
Other members of the National Committee include former U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica Francis McNeill, CRUSA founder Luis Diego Escalante, and prominent Costa Rican businessmen Pedro Dobles, Federico Golcher, Jorge Oller and Robert Woodbridge.
Partners of the Osa Campaign include international nonprofit organizations The Nature Conservancy and Conservation International, CRUSA, and the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE), whose head, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, delivered a speech at the March 18 event.
Los Planes de Drake, a park ranger station recently inaugurated near DrakeBay, on the northern end of the OsaPeninsula, has also brought considerable benefits to the area, according to park director Eliézer Villalta.
The ranger station, inaugurated Feb. 17, is located in a remote area behind CorcovadoNational Park. It consists of a four-bedroom house with a living room, an electrical plant and a water well that serves as living quarters for approximately 15 park rangers who previously lacked an adequate shelter in the area, said Allan Sánchez, finance manager of the Los Planes project.
“Before the station existed, rangers could not spend much time out there (in the remote Los Planes). This control post is an improvement – there is plenty of illegal hunting in the area,” said Sánchez, who works for Fundación Corcovado, another nonprofit conservation organization in the area.
The ranger station was built with a ¢28 million (approximately $56,000) donation from The Nature Conservancy, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the San José-based Horizonte Nature Tours Travel Agency, according to Sánchez.
Clínica Bíblica, a private hospital in downtown San José, provided its engineering staff for the project, while Fundación Corcovado was in charge of fundraising and financial administration of the project, Sánchez said.
How to Contribute
Donations to the Osa Campaign can be made in two ways. Donors seeking a tax deduction in Costa Rica can contribute through the Campaign’s Web site: www.osacampaign.org or by contacting the Campaign offices in San José at 234-3360. Donors seeking a U.S. tax deduction can make gifts to CRUSA’s affiliated organization in the United States, Amigos de Costa Rica. (Gifts should be designated for the Osa Campaign.) For more information, e-mail [email protected] or call (202) 238-2281
To contribute to Fundación Corcovado, call 297-3013 or visit www.corcovadofoundation. org.