THE OSA PENINSULA EXPEDITION, COSTA RICA, 2015
In 1979 Colonel John Blashford-Snell (President of the Scientific Exploration Society) took a party to unveil a plaque commemorating the visit by Sir Francis Drake and his famous ship the“Golden Hind”, to this remote part of Costa Rica 400 years before. This was followed in more recent times by teams from the global youth ventures Operations Drake and Raleigh, providing aid for local communities on this beautiful Pacific coastline.
Now the explorer has been invited to return as the leader of an SES Expedition to aid the Corcovado park covering much of the wild, untouched Osa Peninsula. This is one of the country’s most unique and attractive areas, tucked away on the Pacific coast in SW Costa Rica.
The park covers over 42,000 hectares with the last tropical rain forest of the Mesoamerican Pacific area. Its location, climatic conditions and topography combine to provide an amazing diversity of habitats. As a result there exist a great many biological species. The botany is spectacular and among the fauna of the park are endangered species such as scarlet macaw, peccary, ant eaters, sloths, tapir and different primates as well as five species of cat, including jaguar. It is also an ornithologist’s paradise.
The Osa Peninsula Expedition July 2015 focussed on:
- Four species of sea turtle lay their eggs on the virgin Jungle fringed beaches and the expedition was involved in helping with the protection of the newly hatched youngsters.
- Two timber footbridges were built to improve access to the park and Jungle trails were surveyed and signed.
- The expedition distributed books to schools and reading glasses to the indigenous people.
- Worked with the park staff, members carried out studies of the wildlife.
- The learnings and results from the expedition will be publicised to the scientific community.
To encourage the children to respect the fauna and flora, woollen puppets of turtles, jaguar and a type of wild pig known as a peccary were handed out. This method has proved to work well in other developing countries. The production of the puppets is coordinated by Mrs Shirley Critchley of Poole. A member of the Scientific Exploration Society, Shirley has been on many expeditions, she has played tennis for Great Britain in the over 80s team and is a popular lecturer.