In recent weeks there was identified that tree felling and pruning were being carried out in an area of the Maritime-Terrestrial Zone of the South Caribbean, where sloths and monkeys are frequently observed.Specifically, the area is located between the Selina hotel and the Cocles viewpoint, less than 2 kilometers south of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.
This area is where “Luna and Sol” live, sloths that are monitored under our scientific research initiative ‘Urban Sloth Project’, which precisely studies the impact of urbanization and habitat loss on sloth behavior.
On December 18th, 2021, the South Caribbean community awoke with great concern about the intensification of work in this area, now with “bobcat” -type machinery that was leveling the ground and filling it with ballast.
Citizens on alert
An important group of residents, with indignation, began to denounce these works to the authorities, specifically to the Police Force and SINAC. Hours later, SINAC responded, went to the site and managed to stop all the tasks that were carried out there when they found obvious irregularities.
Another of the excuses of the people who were deforesting was that they were trying to “recover the path” that goes from Cocles to Salsa Brava.A formal record was drawn up and transferred to the Bribrí Prosecutor’s Office for alleged violations of various environmental and land-use legislation in Costa Rica.
These actions caused a serious environmental impact in the area, which is a Natural Heritage of the State and part of the public area of the Maritime-Terrestrial Zone of the South Caribbean.
In the ground here there are various species of plants and animals such as black-green frogs and Blue Morpho butterflies. And also, much activity of sloths of both species in that area.The sloths were very active and lost, some crossing the public street, others simply walking on the ground, even sloths carrying their young.
A great concern
We see this with great concern, since the progress of certain construction works in the South Caribbean is rapidly eliminating the coastal and inland ecosystems of the canton, which are also the main reason why visitors from all over the world come to Puerto Viejo and its surroundings.
Destroying the natural heritage is not only a great blow to the flora, fauna, culture and the community, but also a shot in the foot to the tourism industry that has great economic relevance in the area and depends precisely on the natural resource.
Unfortunately, the lack of intelligent planning and environmental awareness results in excessive systemic pressure on species of flora and fauna that are not at fault and that pay the highest consequences for human intervention.
We understand that in some cases certain types of public works may be necessary; However, all these must be carried out in strict adherence to the law, having carried out the corresponding environmental impact studies and above all with an enormous ecosystem awareness.