The proposed Whale Heritage Site is off the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica, where migrations of Humpback Whales occur from both North and South America, providing almost a year-round presence of Humpbacks. The site would stretch from the Marina Ballena to the Golfo Dulce, near the border of Panama.
This is a virtual marine playground, with both Northern and Southern Hemisphere Humpbacks present (this does not occur anywhere else in the world). In addition, the area is known for MEGA pods of Spotted Dolphins, Spinner Dolphins (a sub species found only here), Common Dolphins, and Bottlenose Dolphins as well as Rough-toothed Dolphins, False Killer Whales, Fin, Sei and Bryde’s Whales and the occasional visiting Orca. Other marine life includes sea turtles, Whale Sharks, and so much more!
There are three main research organisations along this area as well as many tourist operations leaving mainly out of Uvita, Drake Bay, Golfito and Puerto Jimenez. There are very few highly trained tourist operations. Many are captains taking people out with limited knowledge. Anyone visiting Cano Island or Corcovado National Park can see dolphins and whales along the way even though that is not the specific intention of the tour. They also have commercial fishing, long liners, shrimpers, and further out, the tuna boats with helicopters.
Progress in Area
The Vida Marina Foundation have been working for almost 20 years now to create a marine protected area here. They have years and years of data, proving what commercial fishing is doing to the populations of dolphins and sea turtles and occasionally entangled whales. There is some progress towards an MPA being created finally, with a committee being formed and reports submitted to governmental agencies. But the process is slow and time is of the essence due to the commercial fishing in the area. It is their life’s work and dream to have this area protected, and making it into a Whale Heritage Site would be a big part of making that dream come true.