Costa Rica’s Rich Biodiversity Reveals 5,000 New Species

It is amazing, that in this day and age, scientists are still discovering completely new species of plants and animals in the world. You would think that everything had already been discovered.
In Costa Rica, for instance, recent reports reveal that 5,000 new species of animals and plants have been discovered and classified between 2011 and 2013. The finding is part of the country’s National Biodiversity Strategy (ENB in Spanish) for 2014-2020, which follows the United Nations Environment Program’s (UNEP) Strategic Plan for Biodiversity. Most of the new 5,000 species found are insects. The others include a few orchids, mushrooms, mollusks, fish, reptiles and birds.

In the world so far, scientists say they have identified between 1.5 and 1.8 million animal and plant species, about half of which are insects. Beetles are the largest group with 300,000 species. In comparison, there are only 4,500 species of mammals recognized on the planet. Costa Rica, although a tiny country occupying only 0.03% of the planet’s landmass, hosts more than 500,000 plant and animal species. Keeping with the world trend, Costa Rica has about 300,000 kinds of insects. (Anyone who has ever walked into a Costa Rican rainforest without bug repellent knows this!)
Scientists estimate there are probably roughly 8.7 million species existing on Earth, according to a 2011 study in the journal PLoS Biology, published by the Public Library of Science. The crucial point is that approximately 83% of those plant and animal species have yet to be discovered. Scientists calculate that there are probably 6.5 million species living on land, and 2.2 million in the ocean, but that 86% of land-inhabitants and 91% of ocean-dwellers are still roaming at large undiscovered, described or cataloged, reports the study.

At Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge, you can see an abundance of plant and animal life. Located
on the Golfo Dulce next to the Piedras Blancas National Park, the award-winning eco-lodge features several unique ecosystems – primary and secondary rainforest, ocean and mangrove forest. Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge offers nature and adventure tours, yoga classes and retreats, family vacations, and honeymoon trips.

Beach Cleanup in Puntarenitas Coinciding with the International Coastal Cleanup

On September 19th all of Nicuesa’s employees joined the Red Cross, Fire Fighters and many other local businesses to remove the growing amount of plastic bottles, Styrofoam and garbage on the island of Puntarenitas. Puntarenitas is located offshore from Golfito, (the closest town to Playa Nicuesa) and we hope to soon make it as pristine as the clean shores that we enjoy at Playa Nicuesa. Nicuesa’s Sustainability Coordinator, who organized the cleanup, also enlisted the help of Terra Nostra – an NGO focused on cleaning up Costa Rica’s rivers and beaches.
The group of around 50 volunteers collected over 7,000 plastic bottles, 5,000 pieces of Styrofoam, 900 bottle caps and much more within the span of only 4 hours. The beach resembled a dump in some places and reminded all those participating of the reasons why the three r’s are encouraged – more than 100,000 marine animals die every year as a result of getting caught in or trying to eat plastic floating in the ocean!
Due to time restraints the group had to call it a day before being able to finish. Thus, Nicuesa along with the community hopes to continue the effort in the near future. Additionally, Nicuesa is also part of the Tourism Chamber of Commerce in Golfito, which aims to clean up the city and educate people how to properly dispose of solid wastes.
September is the international month of beach clean-ups. If you go on the website of the Ocean Conservancy you can find out where there is a clean up close to you or even organize one yourself for the upcoming year!