Our good friend Mario Coto from SINAC (protected areas management organization) visited Manuel Antonio on 26 March 2010 with a group of national expert in protected areas management. The visit was part of the International Technical University’s course on the management of natural protected areas. The visit to Manuel Antonio was an opportunity for this group of 26 national wildlife management experts, most of them in charge of national conservation areas and/or national parks, to learn more about the Rio Naranjo Biological Corridor. During the workshop held in the Si Como No hotel theater, Titi Conservation Alliance‘s Juan Pablo Aguero informed the guests about the history of the reforestation of the area around the Rio Naranjo river and the process of formal recognition of this effort and the inclusion of the Rio Naranjo Biologial Corridor in the SINAC national system. The presentation that Juan Pablo prepared for the guests was followed by the visit in the field, which was also the opportunity for the participants to ask a range of questions about the experiences of the Titi Conservation Alliance in the conservation of mono titis and general efforts in environmental protection of the Central Pacific Pacific coast. For the staff of the Titi Conservation Alliance, the visit was an excellent opportunity to exchange experiences and discuss problems with this group of very experienced and knowledgeable national environmental management experts.
This month’s public beach cleanup was held on Friday, 26 March 2010. We all had great fun, thanks to the participation of a group of students from the Colegio Tecnico Profesional Quepos, divers and staff from the Oceans Unlimited Scuba Diving and a number of the Titi Conservation Alliance members. We left the beach in great shape and hopefully made some impression on tourists and people working on the beach, by showing them that the beach can be enjoyed by all of us, but that its beauty and cleanliness is the responsibility of all of us as well.
The next beach cleanup is planned for 22 April, the Earth Day.
There is nothing the staff of the Titi Conservation Alliance would not do in order to fulfill their duties, including flying in a small, very small plane. In order to evaluate the success and find gaps in the Rio Naranjo Biological Corridor, we have requested help from the LightHawk, an international volunteer environmental aviation organization which flies thousands of missions every year all over North and Central America in order to help work of non-governmental and community environmental organizations.
“It was fantastic, there is nothing one cannot see from the air’ said Juan Pablo Aguero, Titi Alliance Forestry Engineer, who flew with the Warren Umana from the Municipality and Cristian Bogantes from MINAET.
LightHawk flies its missions free of charge and is supported solely through contributions from foundations, corporations and individuals.
Juan Pablo took more than 50 photos of the Rio Naranjo watershed, where the Rio Naranjo Biological Corridor is located, and will be happy to share them with other environmental organization which need them.
Titi Conservation Alliance is counting on a long-term partnership with the LightHawk and hopes to use their generous services every year in order to monitor the changes in the forest cover of the Rio Naranjo watershed, and in consequences, the rehabilitation of the habitat of endangered titi monkeys.
This time of year is the delight for many animals in Costa Rica. The forests are covered with blooms of all colors, others already have fruits hanging heavily off branches, and some trees are full of seeds that are already covering the forest floor. Bugs, bees and other insects are buzzing everywhere. This time of abundance is the time titi monkey mothers bring their babies to the world.
But, hoping to see the babies of this elusive species of primates endemic to the Central Pacific of Costa Rica is not realistic, since they are declared endangered and their current number is estimated to about 1,500. Many local people sadly say that they rarely see them any more. So, imagine my delight when a couple of mornings ago I woke up by the chirping of a whole troup of titis right in my garden in Manuel Antonio. There is a number of special monkey treats growing in the yard, like cocoa tree, several types of palms, but that is not unique in Manuel Antonio and does not explain this unexpected visit. The troup stayed for hours, to the delight of the whole neighborhood. There were 5-6 mothers with babies that I could see, all babies about the same size, maybe a month old. Some of the youngsters were trying to brave the world by venturing up the tree branch in search of a treat, quickly followed by a concerned mother.
The babies stay attached to their mother’s back for the first five weeks of their life, but by the age of two months they start spending more and more time with their friends play-fighting, and eventually by the age of four months they are completely weaned.
Let’s hope that this scene was witnessed all over the Central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, where the titis live. Whether the reason is the hard work of Titi Conservation Alliance on rehabilitating the habitat or mono titis, or they are simply adapting to closer interactions with humans and greatly disturbed environment, their survival is our great hope and joint responsibility.
See more photos at the Titi Conservation Alliance Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=photos&gid=119195955653
The government of Costa Rica is expected to complete before the end of the year the famous 222 km long ‘costanera’ – a highway that will connect Nicaragua and Panama and save many hours of travel to drivers trying to reach the south of the country. It is fast, smooth – and deadly. The Titi Conservation Alliance team was coming back from Hacienda Baru and ASANA and on the way back saw a sad scene: a dead tolomuco (Eira barbara).
Just a few minutes later, we encountered a lovely colorful iguana, trying to cross the road. The driver coming from the opposite direction ignored our frantic signaling to slow down and barreled down the road, barely missing iguana, which scampered into the bush to live another day.
This is, unfortunately, just the beginning. Wild animals, one of the reason so many tourists are visiting Costa Rica, will be the first to pay for progress. There is so much that can be done: road signs, fences, underground passages (some already exist), but more than anything education and more respect for those that share our world with us.
Every month people from all over the world who work in the environmental field meet up for a drink at informal sessions known as Green Drinks. The idea behind Green Drinks is to bring together a mixture of people from NGOs, academia, government and business who are interested in ‘green topics’. It’s a great way of catching up with people you know, making new contacts in the “green industry” and promoting the environmental conservation worldwide.
This January Green Drinks meeting in Manuel Antonio was held on the 29th in Casa Sandra and the main topic of discussion was recycling. There were about 15 participants and the short presentation on the global solid waste problem was followed by a lively discussion. Andrea from ASOPROQUEPOS was present to answer questions and suggest what each participant can help to improve the situation. This organization, which is in charge of solid waste removal and recycling in Quepos and Manuel Antonio is doing great job under difficult conditions and limited equipment and funds. The Titi Conservation Alliance is working with ASOPROQUEPOS on the environmental education in local schools, as well as on setting up recycling centers in schools and teaching kids how to reuse recyclable materials and turn them into art and various reusable objects.
The meeting participants concluded that the education is the best way to go in order to change bad habits such as littering and dumping materials that can be reused. ASOPROQUEPOS is inviting all interested businesses and private people to join their recycling campaign by calling 2777-1107.
Titi Conservation Alliance joined the Billion Tree Campaign organized by the United Nations Environment Program by pledging to plant 5000 trees in 2010. The trees that we plan to plant in 2010 are part of our Rio Naranjo Biological Corridor Project and will benefit not only the two separated population of mono titis, but will enrich the biodiversity of the region, and, as a bonus, will act as carbon sink as well.
This very popular campaign is supported by organizations and private people from all over the world. Why not join them? You pledge and pay, and we will plant in your name. And not only plant, but take care of and keep alive. That does not seem to be part of the pledge, but is seriously big part of how successful the whole campaign will be.
Electrocution is one of most common causes of death of mono titis in the Manuel Antonio area.
This serious problem was the reason the Titi Conservation Alliance was trying for quite some time to organize a meeting with ICE (Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad), to discuss the way to cooperate in the protection of mono titis, as well as in the implementation of our projects, especially the reforestation of the biological corridor. Finally, on 17 December, the meeting was held in the ICE meeting room in Quepos, in the presence of 16 ICE experts from all over the country, three representatives from the Kids Saving the Rainforests and other interested parties.
The meeting was an opportunity to present the report by José Andrés León from the Universidad Técnica Nacional, on the location of bridges for the wildlife, one of the most popular ways to protect mono titis and other animals from electrocution. Unfortunately, Andres could not present his report himself, so our forestry engineer Juan Pablo Aguero informed the audience of the Report’s conclusions and recommendations. The full text can be read here: Conclusiones y recomendaciones.
Titi Conservation Alliance and Kids Saving the Rainforest introduced the organizations and ongoing projects to the audience, expressing hope that this meeting would result in a positive improvement in the safety of mono titis in our region.
ICE’s Jaime Bolanos and Gilbert Porras explained the equipment that is needed in order to insulate electrical wires and instruments and make them safe for the wildlife. They also expressed great interest in working with local environmental organization in establishing a system to prevent animals’ injuries to the extent possible. They asked for the support of the organizations in conducting a country-wide study on the mitigation of animal injuries by the electrical equipment. They also requested support in promoting the use of underground electrical cables where it is viable.
The meeting ended with the agreement to meet again at the beginning of January in order to establish more concrete plan of action. The next meeting should involve the representatives from the Municipality, MINAE, ICT and other relevant bodies. Titi Conservation Alliance will organize the meeting.
One of the last activities in this school year’s environmental education program was part of the ongoing campaign of the Titi Conservation Alliance to sensitize students, and through them their parents, to the need to think about solid waste as something that has important impact on our lives and a problem that we can do something about. On Tuesday, 15 December, our Environmental Educator Isaias Orias Medina gathered a group of students (and few curious parents) from the Escuela Paquita in Paquita, to show them one of many ways to reuse what would normally end up as waste: milk and juice tetra-brick containers. Isaias taught all of us how to turn these ordinary objects into nice and useful coin purses.
We had guests during this activity: two young film makers, Peter Jordan and Charlene Music, who are working on the documentary for the Center for Responsible Travel about the impacts of coastal resort tourism on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. Kids enjoyed both the attention of the camera crew and their new purses.
During the school break we will work hard on preparing new materials and presentations for the next school year. If you have ideas and topics you would like to share with us, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. We would love to hear from you.
We always say how the job well done is the reward in itself, but it is still nice to be recognized. At their annual ceremony, Iguana Tours showed their appreciation to those businesses and organizations that supported them most, in other words, their biggest fans. Titi Conservation Alliance was one of them and Juan Pablo Aguero received the plaque on our behalf:
The plaque says: “A Titi Conservation Alliance Reconocimiento a tan distinguida empresa por promover y representar nuestro destino de Iguana Tours.”