Science and Research

Notes From the Field: Terciopelo

While the Osa Peninsula, rich with biodiversity and sheer beauty, is a wonderful place to kick back and relax, there are numerous opportunities for visitors to catch a glimpse of some of the world’s most fascinating reptiles. Some of which, like the Terciopelo, can be especially hard (and dangerous) to spot.

The Terciopelo is a beautiful dark grey, brown or olive green snake, with a dorsal pattern of triangular designs on both sides of its body, resembling a letter ‘X’ visible from above. It’s a large snake that can grow up to 250 cm (over eight feet!) in length, although the average adult is between 140 and 180 cm (4.6 to 5.9 ft) long. The females are much longer than the males.

It principally eats small mammals and birds. The species is viviparous, which means that the embryos grow inside of the mother and are born fully formed. Furthermore, the snake is very fruitful; it can give birth to up to 90 offspring. This high fertility explains in part why the Terciopelo is one of the most abundant snakes in Costa Rica.

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Marine Conservation, Science and Research

Osa Conservation Supports Research in Golfo Dulce: Drawing Conclusions

Mogos Islands mark the highest waters of Golfo Dulce.

By Brooke Bessesen

While Jorge and I both loved working on the water, the results of our research brought the greatest rewards. Golfo Dulce is a true bio-gem—one of Costa Rica’s preeminent riches. Several hundred Green sea turtles, critically endangered Hawksbill sea turtles, Olive Ridley sea turtles and (reportedly) Pacific Leatherback sea turtles, rest, feed, mate and nest in the gulf. A rare xanthic colony of pelagic sea snakes resides around the inner basin. Both Northern and Southern Hemisphere Humpback whales enter the inlet to give birth and possibly provide sanctuary for young calves. Whale sharks aggregate in Golfo Dulce. Resident dolphins and other toothed cetaceans breed and raise offspring. Scalloped hammerhead sharks are born there and needlefish spawn. What a remarkably vibrant bionetwork!

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Community Outreach, Marine Conservation

Arrested Development: Osa residents debate marina project in community forums

Panelists discuss the environmental impacts of the proposed marina project at a community forum

By Andrea Johnson

For the last two weekends, hundreds of people from Puerto Jimenez and surrounding towns have crowded together into small hot rooms for hours on end to engage in heated discussions about a very important current affair that is getting people talking in the Osa Peninsula. And there’s not a soccer ball in sight.

The events are a series of community forums revolving around a proposed development project. Five hour long public forums; democracy can be painful.

The project in question is a marina and mega resort-style complex that the owners of Crocodile Bay Resort, an all-inclusive sport-fishing resort in town, want to build out into the waters off the town’s public beach. This would be the first marina to be built on the Osa Peninsula or in the Golfo Dulce, a globally unique marine ecosystem.

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Community Outreach, Environmental Education, Sea Turtles

Food, Fun and Facepaint: 2012 Sea Turtle Festival A Success

It was a beautiful sunny day in Carate, where the fourth annual Osa Peninsula Sea Turtle Festival took place last Sunday, September 23.

The Sea Turtle Festival aims to raise community awareness about the importance of joint efforts in the conservation of sea turtle species that frequent Osa beaches in the nesting months, and to share the objectives and results of Osa Conservation’s Sea Turtle Volunteer program with the community.

People from Carate, and other surrounding areas such as Piro, Rio Oro and Puerto Jimenez made their way out to the festival around 10 am, where they found music, food, drinks, face paint, and educational posters about Sea Turtle activity and Osa Conservation’s work in Piro, Pejeperro and other beaches on the peninsula.

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