List of Cetaceans of Costa Rica PROMAR created the list of
cetaceans of Costa Rica.† This work not
only amplified the biological diversity in Costa
Rica, but demosntrated the diversity of Order
Cetacea in Costa Rican patrimonial waters.
RodrÌguez Fonseca, co-founder of
PROMAR, worked on this
list, published in Revista de Biología
Tropical of the University of Costa Rica.
The value of this list called the attention
of the National Intitute of Biodiversity,
which poposed PROMAR to prepare a special
version of this list to be included in the
date base of the Institute as shown at darnis.inbio.co.cr/ubis
Species of Cetaceans of Costa Rica
cabeza de melón
delfín de Risso
delfín de dientes rugosos
delfín de Fraser
delfín nariz de botella
S. a. graffmani
"ballena" de esperma
"ballena" nariz de botella
zifio, "ballena" de Cuvier
azul, rorcual gigante
rorcual de Sei
rorcual de Bryde
jorobada, ballena, yubarta
Presence of Pesticides in the dolphins of Golfo
In March 2000, PROMAR was part of a television
documentary directed and produced by the australian
company Beyond Productions, for the Discovery
Under the support of Beyond and The Quest, a
60-feet long cruise dedicated to support research
around the world, PROMAR obtained blubber and
skin samples of two bottlenose and two spotted
dolphins in Golfo Dulce, to analyze the presence
avoid capturing any animal, due to the high
stress level involved in such a practice,
special sampling darts were used under the
crossbow method, applied by Dr. Paul Forestell
of Long Island University.Blubber samples
had a maximum size of 2 cm long and 0,5
This study was justified by the fact that bottlenose
dolphins in Golfo Dulce have been defined as
a small and closed population. Pesticides had
been already found in the waters of Golfo Dulce,
specially concentrated around the mouth of Esquinas
At the same time, river mouths are the main
feeding grounds of the bottlenose in the gulf.
The presence of toxic substances in dolphin
prey has been demostrated to be extremely harmfull
at medium and long terms.Cetacean blubber fixes
pesticides which are even tresspased to new
generation through lactation. Physical deformations
and lower survivorship rates result from pesticide
presence, among other consequences.
Pesticide analysis revealed high levels of several
kinds in the bottlenose dolphins of Golfo Dulce.
Lower ammounts were found in the spotted dolphins.
Assessment of the Impact of Whale-watching in
wild cetaceans of Costa Rica ABSTRACT
February 2001 to March 2002 a field diagnosis
was developed to determine the quality,
contents, conduction strategies and behavior
around wild cetaceans during educational
or tourist whale-watching activities of
dolphins and whales in Costa Rica.
The motivation to develop this research
was based on the growing interest of the
public to watch dolphins and whales in Costa
Rica and, with that, the fast increase that
these kind of activities has had in Costa
Rica sice 1997, when only three whale-watching
options existed all over the country. During
the period of this study, 36 options were
accounted, which reflected an increase of
1200% in only four years.
Income from whale watching tours in Costa Rica
was about US$1,5 million per year for the 19
tour options included in this field diagnosis.
Because seventeen tour options did not accept
to be evaluated, it is hypothesised that income
might double the amount estimated by this study.
One hundred percent (100%) of the 19 tour options
evaluated in this study made mistakes in their
conduction, especially in terms of distance
between boats, when more than one was present.
There were also mistakes in relation to distance
from the cetaceans, permanence time close to
a specific group and driving strategies.
Cetaceans were usually milling when founded.
Although, behavioral changes dominated, none
of them involved feeding or sexual behavior.
Cetaceans tended to avoid the boats and when
interactions with a boat occurred, those were
highly induced by the boat itself. Increase
in cetacean speed and diving frequency was dominant
over its decrease for the two alternatives.
According to a predetermined scale, boat safety
and quality fluctuated between ìgoodî
and ìvery badî. Most of the options
evaluated did not provide life jackets nor had
a radio on board. Some of them had motor problems
or a relatively weak structure. Maximum capacity
by boat ranged between 4 and 40 passengers.
Only one tour option out of nineteen had real
basis on cetacean natural history; however,
there was a lack of knowledge about conduction
guidelines in all of the options. Twelve tours
out of 36 (the total existent in Costa Rica)
were formal, which means that 67% was informal.
Whale watching in Costa Rica has increased
more than 200% in the last four years.
Such extremely fast growth has been
characterised by regular to very low
quality tour options were minimum
quality standards are not available.
• Whale watching tours in Costa
Rica, despite their relatively high costs,
do not have trained guides on board niether
provide accurate information about the
biology or natural history of the animals
and their environment.
• Many of them do not provide safety
minimum conditions for people such as
life savers, radio on board and instructions
to passengers and most of them use boats
or motors in regular conditions. They
niether follow minimum conduction guidelines.
• All of the tour options ñexcept
one- cause behavioral changes and alteration
signs in the animals, such us changes
in diving frequency, evasive behavior,
distraction leaps by one member of the
group, while the others move away, etc.,
which suggests inmediate effects and very
possible medium and long term effects,
unless mistakes are corrected on time.
• Costa Rica is not ready to develop
a formal whale watching industry and will
not be, unless official (legal) regulations
are made and a particular training program
directed to operators, capitans, guides
and government representatives exists.
However, Costa Rican Tourism Institute
(ICT) has already started a promotional
campaign in the massive media.
Projects in process
Determination of the presence of plaguicides
in dolphins of Golfo Dulce (Osa Peninsula) as
evidence to identify and reduce pollution sources
affecting the ecosystem. In collaboration with:
Regional Institute of toxical Substances- (IRET)-
National University (Costa Rica); Cellular and
Mollecular Research Center (CIBCM)- Universidad
de Costa Rica (Costa Rica); Institute of Environmental
and Toxicological Chemistry (IBED)- University
of Amsterdam (Holanda).
Marine Ecological Monitoring as an integral
part of the conservation plan for ACOSA. In
collaboration with: MarViva, Corcovado Foundation
and Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE)