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Private Wildlife Refuges in Costa Rica

Costa Rica's Wildlife Conservation Law of 1992 provides for a number of privileges, including relief from property taxes, for property owners who establish private wildlife reserves. An important article in Conservation Biology describes the operation of the program and includes a map and list of the private reserves. Langholz, Jeff, Lassoie, James & Schelhas, John
Incentives for Biological Conservation: Costa Rica's Private Wildlife Refuge Program.
Conservation Biology 14(6), 1735-1743 (2000). The authors found that reserve status was especially popular in coastal areas, where localities have control over development. In some instances, local governments have organized bands of squatters to invade property to pressure owners who resist development projects. When a private wildlife refuge is created, the local government loses jurisdiction over the property to the central government.

Following are tables from the above article listing the private reserves, with added details and links. Additional reserves undoubtedly have been set up since the time of publication.

Table 1. Officially recognized private wildlife refuges in Costa Rica (participants).

Name a Size (ha)
Água Buena - Osa 252
Aviários del Caribe 39
Cacyra 41
Hacienda Copano - Puerto Jiménez 839
Costa Esmeralda - Guanacaste 60
Curú - Nicoya Peninsula, Puntarenas 84
Finantica 35
Genesis II 47
Hacienda Baru 227
Hara Heinrik 42
Ingalls Family - Tempisque 130
La Avellana - Central Pacific Coast 200
La Ceiba - Lake Arenal 284
La Ensenada - Gulf of Nicoya, Puntarenas 390
La Marta (ULACIT) - Pejibaye de Turrialba, Cartago 1500
Marenco 800
Preciosa Platanares - Osa 249
Portalón - Aguirre, Puntarenas 420
Punta Leona - Central Pacific Coast 20
Rancho la Merced - Osa 150
RHR Bancas 242
Werner Sauter - Nicoya 100
Note: (a) Curú and La Avellana were established by special decree prior to enactment of the 1992 Wildlife Conservation Law. Platanares was an approved refuge at the time of fieldwork in 1997 but had not yet been gazetted as a protected area.

Table 2. Private nature reserves that are not part of the Private Wildlife Refuge Program (control group).

Name Region Size
( ha)
Aguila de Osa Osa Peninsula (Drake Bay) 90
Albergue Buena Vista Guanacaste (Liberia) 500
Albergue Cerro Alto Talamanca Mts. (Cartago) 29
Albergue Monte Amuo Talamanca Mts. (Buenos Aires) 147
Albergue Rio Savegre Talamanca Mts. (San Isidro) 400
Arbofilia Central Pacific (Orotina) 80
Bahia Esmerelda Osa Peninsula (Matapalo) 20
Bosque del Cabo Osa Peninsula (Matapalo) 96
Cabañas Escondidas Central Pacific (Dominical) 32
Carate Jungle Camp Osa Peninsula (Carate) 100
Casa Orquídeas Golfo Dulce (Golfito) 22
Cebios Osa Peninsula (Drake Bay) 100
The Children's Rainforest [Dead URL 3/2004] Tilaran Mts. (Monteverde) 22000
Corcovado Lodge & Tent Camp Osa Peninsula (Carate) 80
Dolphin Quest Golfo Dulce (Golfito) 300
Drake Bay Wilderness Camp Osa Peninsula (Drake Bay) 48
Dúrika Biological Reserve Talamanca Mts. (Buenos Aires) 792
EARTH Atlantic Slope (Guapiles) 600
Ecolodge San Luis Tilarán Mts. (Monteverde) 40
El Barantes/La Garita Guanacaste (Abangares) 84
Mirador de San Gerardo Tilaran Mts (Monteverde) 35
Escuela C.A. de Ganadería Central Valley (Atenas) 200
Finca El Cedral Puntarenas (Playa Cocal) 535
Ganadería San Lorencito Tilarán Mts. (San Ramon) 540
Reserva Guapil Central Pacific (Dominical) 100
Hacienda La Pacífica Guanacaste (Las Canas) 650
Heliconia Tilaran Mts. (Monteverde) 240
JadeMar Osa Peninsula (Drake Bay) 21
Kiri Forest Reserve Central Valley (Orosi) 65
Reserva Tangara Sarapiquí (La Virgin) 238
Laguna de Lagarto Lodge Northeast (Pital) 250
Las Cusingas * Atlantic Slope (Guapiles) 17
Los Laureles Central Pacific (Uvita) 45
Mapache Wilderness Camp Southwest (Palmar Norte) 40
Pacuare /  Mondoquillo Atlantic Coast (Limon) 749
Poás Volcano Lodge Central Mts (Alajuela) 30
Punta Achiote Central Pacific (Dominical) 78
Rainbow Adventures Lodge Golfo Dulce (Golfito) 543
Rancho Naturalista Atlantic Slope (Turrialba) 36
Rincón de la Vieja Lodge Guanacaste (Liberia) 296
Samasati Talamanca (BriBri) 95
Reserva Santa Elena Tilaran Mts. (Monteverde) 310
Tropical America Tree Farms Central Pacific (Siléncio) 1650
Tiskita Jungle Lodge Golfo Dulce (Pavones) 101
Vereh-Tayyutic Atlantic Slope (Turrialba) 400
Vitacura Atlantic Slope (Tortuguero) 68
* Although this reserve did not meet the 20-ha minimum size requirement, its owner has founded a local conservation organization that is protecting an additional 1800 ha.

Copyright © 1992-2012 John Wall