RESEARCH

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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.

Javier 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

Taxón

Caribe

Pacífico

Isla del
Coco

Estatus

Nombre común

Delphinidae
  Peponocephala electra

X (GN)

R-O-c delfín cabeza de melón
  Feresa attenuata

V-O-r orca pigmea
  Pseudorca crassidens

X (GD)

R-B-c falsa orca
  Orcinus orca

X

X (GD)

R?-C-c orca
  Globicephala macrorhynchus

X

X

R-B-a ballenato, "ballena" piloto
  Grampus griseus

X

X

R-C-c bufeo, delfín de Risso
  Steno bredanensis

X

X

R-O-r bufeo, delfín de dientes rugosos
  Sotalia fluviatilis

X

R-C-c tucuxi
  Lagenodelphis hosei

X

X

R-O-r delfín, delfín de Fraser
  Tursiops truncatus

X

X (GD-GN)

X

R-C-c bufeo, delfín nariz de botella
  Delphinus delphis

X

X

R-C-a delfín, delfín com“n
  Stenella attenuata attenuata

X

X

R-B-c delfín manchado (oceönico)
  S. a. graffmani  

X (GD-GN)

  R-B-a delfín manchado (costero)
  Stenella frontalis

X

R-C-c delfín manchado (del Atlöntico)
  Stenella coeruleoalba

X

X

R-O-a delfín rayado, delfín listado
  Stenella longirostris orientalis

X

X

R-B-r delfín tornillo (oceönico)
  S. l. centroamericana

X (GD-GN)

  R-B-c delfín tornillo (costero)
Physeteridae
  Physeter catodon

X

X (GD-GN)

R-O-c cachalote, "ballena" de esperma
  Kogia breviceps

X

R-O-r cachalote enano
  Kogia simus

X

X

V-O-r cachalote pigmeo
Ziphiidae
  Hyperoodon planifrons    

X

 

X

V-O-r "ballena", "ballena" nariz de botella
  Ziphius cavirostris    

X

 

X

R-O-c "ballena", zifio, "ballena" de Cuvier
  Mesoplodon densirostris    

X

  R-O-c "ballena", "ballena" picuda
  Mesoplodon grayi      

X

V-O-r "ballena" picuda
  Mesoplodon sp.A    

X

 

X

R-O-c "ballena" picuda
Balaenopteridae
Balaenoptera musculus    

X

  M-O-c ballena azul, rorcual gigante
  Balaenoptera physalus  

X

    V-O-r ballena, rorcual com“n
  Balaenoptera borealis      

X

V-O-r ballena, rorcual de Sei
  Balaenoptera edeni    

X (GD)

 

X

R-B-c ballena, rorcual de Bryde
  Megaptera novaengliae    

X (GD)

 

X

M-C-c ballena jorobada, ballena, yubarta


Presence of Pesticides in the dolphins of Golfo Dulce
In March 2000, PROMAR was part of a television documentary directed and produced by the australian company Beyond Productions, for the Discovery Channel.

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 of pesticides.

To 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 cm wide.


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 River.
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

Justification

From 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.

Results
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.

Conclusions

• 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).

Project amplification.
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)


 

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