With over 500,000 species calling it home, Costa Rica displays a wide variety of biodiversity. While only one-thirtieth of the planet’s total landmass, it is home to 4% of all species living on it. Hundreds of species are endemic to Costa Rica, i.e., they live exclusively within the confines of the nation. Most of them are insects, with over 300,000 specimens. Other endemic fauna include frogs, lizards, snakes, and more.
Costa Rica’s high biodiversity is because three to five million years ago, the landmass was a bridge between the North and South American continents. This allowed wildlife from both to interact. Currently, there are a wide variety of ecosystems in the country, including cloud forests, coastlines, deciduous forests, mangroves, and tropical rainforests.
Some of the animals living in the forests of Costa Rica are the keel-billed toucan, the two toed sloth, the scarlet macaw, the resplendent quetzal, and the hawksbill sea turtle.
The rapidly growing human population threatens Costa Rica’s biodiversity due to environmental degradation and deadly agricultural practices. However, there are programs implemented to protect flora and fauna by the government, as well as ecotourism efforts that bring in $1.92 billion in revenue. This funding incentivizes businesses and locals to protect and conserve natural resources rather than depleting and exhausting them.