Costa Rica and the Importance of Wildlife Conservation

“We might not have big industries or impressive man-made landmarks but if there’s one thing that sets Costa Rica above all places is our amazing wildlife” the Costa Rica man said. Having already spent one week traveling in this amazing country, I must say that he is absolutely right. Wildlife is the national treasure of Costa Rica and I truly admire their efforts in preserving it.

Isn’t it amazing how this small land covers only 1% of the world’s surface and yet, is home to half a billion different species of plants and animals? Yes, you can go to Guatemala for the culture, to Belize for the snorkeling and to Nicaragua for the volcanoes. But Costa Rica? Costa Rica is all about life.

The essence of Costa Rica is all about preserving and respecting wildlife. The essence of Costa Rica is all about enjoying the small daily moments of life. The essence of Costa Rica is all about Pura Vida (Pure Life) and the amazing meanings that this phrase conveys.

The Iguanas of Costa Rica

The Iguanas of Costa Rica

Why should we care about wildlife conservation?

True, we humans have done a lot of atrocities against wildlife in both the past and the present under the name of survival. After all, we were responsible for the extinction of many of the world’s most impressive species of mammals and birds.

Even sadder is to think that in modern times, we humans are heartless enough to be the only species that kills for sport and not only for survival, each time I see a man with a rifle right next to a dead animal, my heart aches with sadness and pain.

Wildlife conservation it’s not only about ensuring the sustainability of the world’s many ecosystem, it’s all about respect. It’s about understanding that we as humans are no superior to any other species and that we all deserve to live in this wonderful planet. It’s understanding that sloths, crabs, butterflies and humans we all have the right to enjoy life. And that’s the greatest gift of them all.

The biodiversity of Costa Rica's birds

The biodiversity of Costa Rica’s birds

In the last couple of days I had the pleasure of admiring Costa Rica’s unique wildlife at the Manuel Antonio Park. I also got the chance of visiting projects that are aimed at rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife to ensure their proper introduction to their eco-system.

Sure, the cynical person will always claim that even non-profit rescue centers are all about the profits but hey, think about the alternative for a second. Do you really think that people should turn a blind eye to the sloth that was set on fire by a bunch of drunk teenagers?

Ignorance is not an excuse for atrocities against wildlife. A kid might not realize that it is wrong to step on ants but it is his parents responsibility to teach him how to behave like a human being.

Baby sloth of Costa rica

Baby sloth of Costa Rica

We are all one. And we should remember that

In modern society, there is a big problem in terms of speciesism. We humans like to place ourselves at the top of ladder, it makes sense for us to do so. Afterwards we include animals that are traditionally kept as pets. I mean, unless you’re a Vietnamese guy you would probably never want to eat a dog. After humans and pets, we tend to place mammals and birds in our ladder of importance.

Fish, reptiles and bugs? Way down at the bottom of the ladder. Sure, some people keep iguanas, fish, tarantulas and the such as pets (and they should definitely avoid doing that!) but in general it is not frowned upon to see a human intruding into the fish home in order to kill it for dinner.

It is not frowned upon to see a human skinning a crocodile in order to make boots. It is not frowned upon to see a human stepping on ants as he casually goes on with his day.

Curious Costa Rican Tree Frog

Curious Costa Rican Tree Frog

And we should change that. We should eliminate that mythical ladder of speciesim and start to realize that we are all one. We are all connected. Each organism, no matter how small, should have the right to live. Because life is the greatest gift of them all we should definitely respect that.

Do you agree?

Sloth in Costa Rica

Sloth in Costa Rica

What can we do about wildlife conservation today?

It saddens me to think that the endemic fauna of my dear Mexico is slowly dying out thanks to poachers, deforestation and basically, a lack of interest in the general population.

How sad is that?

Get inspired and start saving the wildlife today! And of course, don’t forget to share your thoughts to let us know what you think about wildlife conservation :)

The Ultimate Wildlife Conservation Travel Guide

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11 Responses

  1. Brianna

    I was amazed at the incredible biodiversity in Costa Rica, especially the Osa. This is where I fell in love with both birding and the rainforest and we must do all we can to preserve this world for future generations.

  2. Christina

    Awesome article, Raphael. Will share it on Twitter. More people should be aware of your and the video´s perspective.

  3. Alli

    Beautiful article, Raphael :) Loved it. (Especially the photos of the sloth!) All your posts and insights of Costa Rica really have me itching to go!

  4. The Wandering Wanderluster

    I used to work for Contiki and I think it’s a great idea to raise awareness of conservation to a wide audience of travellers. I completely agree more should be done to protect our special planet and the areas in the world that are more vulnerable. Otherwise it will all be gone in generations to come and wouldn’t that be a shame.

  5. Laura

    Excellent post, and so important for people to read, thanks for sharing it with us!

  6. Sabina

    What a great article! Travel shouldn’t only be about self-absorbed gratification, but about giving back as well. This was a great reminder :)

  7. Megan Claire

    Thanks for a great post Raphael. I completed wildlife conservation over a few weeks in the Osa in CR back in 2011 and it really made me passionate about the issue. I mean, how could you not become an advocate after looking into the eyes of one of those gorgeous sloths!

    Thanks for raising awareness.

  8. Rashad Pharaon

    I’m really glad you’re writing about this. I think laying out the plight of native wildlife and how we are affecting it is the first step for change. I just hope people take heed…

  9. Jenna

    Great post and video! I agree–wildlife conservation is so important. I’m heading to Costa Rica in a couple months and can’t wait–this makes me even more excited!

  10. Stephanie Mayo

    Great piece! Costa Rica has been on my list for years and it’s simply for it’s wealth of wildlife! If we can not save wildlife, we can not save ourselves!