Action plan for marine cetacean sighting


Osa Conservation Area (ACOSA), Osa Peninsula, Cano Island Biological Reserve.


300 Hectares

General Information:

Cano Island is the only continent island that has both, primary and secondary forests; is home to a variety of land and coastal ecosystems and inherited a cultural legacy, that’s unique to this area of Costa Rica.

Over the last years, the sightings of marine cetaceans have increased in this area. Large mammals such as humpback whales, orca whales, spotted dolphins, bottlenose dolphins and spinner dolphins can be observed. Hence the importance of having an action plan to permit a better handling, control and protection of the species inside and outside the wildlife protected area.

Interesting facts: 

•Archaeological site is used as an indigenous cemetery.

•It shelters an evergreen tropical rainforest with 158 species of higher plants and ferns. 

•Some tree species reach up to 50 meters.

•Mammals such as philanders, pacas, rats and bats inhabit in the island. 

•Small snakes, boas, frogs, lizards and other insects are part of this ecosystem. 

•Ten species of birds can be found: cattle egret, common black hawk, peregrine falcon, osprey, frigatebird and brown booby.

•It is home to the largest coral reef of Costa Rica’s Pacific coast.

 Project Objectives:

•To guarantee that marine cetacean sighting is safer and that this activity ensures their welfare as well as of those involved, making it more sustainable and viable in the long term.

•To ensure the adoption of sustainable practices on behalf of visitors. 

•To integrate community groups and NGOs in the surveillance and control of this activity and support to the work done by the staff of the wildlife protected area.


•Completion of workshops and lectures on environmental legislation that were addressed to the inhabitants of the target area and to the NGOs in charge of this activity.  

•Creation of partnerships with tour operators and business owners in order to contribute with the protection and preservation of marine resources.

•Integration of volunteer groups such as the local committees of surveillance of natural resources or COVIRENAs for their Spanish acronym, to participate in activities related to the control and protection of the protected area, AP, with an emphasis on the control of marine cetaceans sightings.

•Promotion of better practices among captains and boat guides for marine cetaceans sighting activities.

•Implementation of field operations with boats and captains of the tour operators.