Wildlife Corridors – Path of the Tapir

Waterfall Villas joins ASANA in efforts to save the Path of the Tapir Biological Corridor – Costa Rica
Sighting a Tapir is a barometer for success in conservation efforts; like jaguar and parrots, these are rare migratory animals. In the rainforest of Costa Rica, the tapir is one of the animals that symbolize the vibrancy of the rainforest, because only when the forest is in its primordial essence, pristine and flourishing do these animals suddenly reappear.

The Path of the Tapir extends from the Osa peninsula in the south pacific of Costa Rica all the way to Manuel Antonio National Park passing through the Baru rainforest, and into the mountains of Tinamaste where the ridge is so vertically steep that virgin forest is still intact.

Here the largest waterfalls of Costa Rica are shrouded by a thick emerald green gallery. Amongst this rainforest in the heart of the Baru rainforest, Cascadas Farallas Waterfalls are protected in a private reserve set up by the Waterfall Villas to preserve the waterfalls and their unique habitat for wildlife. The Waterfall Villas reserve is right on the Path of the Tapir, an official certified biological corridor. The Waterfall Villas is an eco-retreat commited to rainforest preservation. Cascadas Farallas Waterfall Villas

“The path of the Tapir Biological Corridor represents one of the last remaining wild areas in Costa Rica, and as such enjoys an incredible diversity of flora, fauna, habitats, and ecological processes.”
Richard Margoluis, president ASANA

Along the Path of the Tapir, there are a scattering of private reserves, 5 National Parks, and various critical biological areas under threat: the Corcovado National Park, Terraba-Sierpe National Wetlands, Talamanca Mountain Range (where the only indigenous Costa Rican tribes still live), Los Quetzales National Park, the Marine Ballena National Park, and the Manuel Antonio National Park.

Conservationists have found that although these magnificent parks in Costa Rica are saving animal populations, the migratory animals need to venture outside of the protected areas to mate, feed, and breed. Healthy populations of animals in the parks require that the gene pool is wider than a small protected area.

The importance of maintaining the health of a biological corridor stems from the phenomena of the dead zoo – this happens when protected areas are located on a peninsula /or isolated areas surrounded by development and the gene pool is so small that animals eventually decline because of poor health. When the gene pool cannot be enhanced by natural migrations and is limited, then it has been required for new animals to be brought in manually to keep the animal populations healthy (as in Manuel Antonio). This new realization about sustaining natural selection in animal populations has conservation groups focused on protecting the biological corridors – natural migration paths that are connections between protected areas.

This conservation effort in Costa Rica has been lead by a group called ASANA (An acronym for Friends of Nature in Spanish). Unfortunately, the group was quite fragmented for some years, although they managed to start the protection process. Recently, a professional world class conservationist started to lead the group as president, Richard Margoluis. This is quite fortunate as the conservation efforts are very challenging, and he has major projects underway.

The Waterfall Villas and the Cascadas Farallas Waterfall Reserve, owned by Fateh and Franco Bolivar, is dedicated to preservation of this Biological Corridor – the Path of the Tapir. The Waterfall Villas is now the conservation group’s first corporate sponsor member.

In the last 10 years, an amazing comeback has been observed and many birds (over 400 species) including Macaws, and many other rare mammals (146 species) can be found well beyond the confines of the parks – throughout the corridor. But unfortunately, that seems to be a short lived success story as the greed and demand of more powerful entities is looming close.

Time -critical Threat to the Rainforest!
Exceptionally high demand arising from the USA for electric power has the Costa Rican monopoly electric company, ICE, envisioning $$ signs in their eyes! ICE defined a very ambitious project to create three major dams scheduled to flood vast rain forested areas, and this will impact particularly important and fragile areas in the most sensitive area of the Terraba River near Ojochal and Sierpe in the OSA, effecting the wetlands and the indigenous way of life of the Indigenous peoples. ICE’s plan will include dumping hot water used in the electric process into the wetlands. These wetlands stretch out to the main breeding grounds of the humpback whales who come to the National Marine park in the hundreds every year between July – Oct.

The most insidious part of ICE’s project is to dedicate in place 4 high voltage power lines with high electro magnetic fields upon a few hundred towers right through parts of the Path of the Tapir right into the rainforest canopy and stretch these beyond Manuel Antonio to Parrita where the electric power will then be routed into already existing lines all the way to Mexico on route to the USA – the power’s final destination for consumption. There in the USA, an unknowing population with a high demand for power is about to alter the most precious gem of rare and diverse rainforest on the planet.

The diagram shows the areas that are in the Path of the Tapir ( Paso de la Danta in Spanish)

The Waterfall Villas is in the bright blue area near Dominical right in the Path of the Tapir – although not directly effected in the ICE project, the entire area will eventually decline. All of these areas that are not directly in the parks will be effected by this high voltage electric power – unless ASANA’s members and friends can raise enough funds to hire lawyers to fight this giant corporation ICE in Costa Rica, to mitigate this threat . These planned power lines can be moved over to the grey area on the map outside of the migratory path and the populated areas to circumvent a tragedy to the Costa Rican rainforest. In the grey area no conservation dangers exist. However, this would cost about $50 million more to ICE so as to not damage the most fragile rainforest. This is the cost that has been put on the preservation of the most incredible biodiverse corridor in the world.

The new website of ASANA will be released in April, and will have a place where you can donate to this well worth cause to save rare animals and indigenous peoples through the already established International Community Foundation (ICF) acting as the fiscal agent in the US with the “Friends of ASANA” fund. In the USA, this donation is tax deductable because of the ICF’s 501(c)3 status to receive donations.

If you are a friend of the rainforest, please do what you can to help ASANA in this effort to keep the great strides of the last 10 years continuing so that the rain forests of this area will be completely resorted to their former splendor for future generations and not destroyed by corporate giants.
For more information about Cascadas Farallas Waterfall Villas: Cascada Farallas Waterfall Villas