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Rainforest


The Rainforest of Tortuguero  

The Tortuguero rainforest is the last part of the unique wet atlantic rainforest, which once covered the whole caribbean coast. Compared to the pacific coast, Tortuguero has no dry season, it rains  whole year around. Some months however are drier than other ones, like September, October and February to April. The annual precipitation is around 6000 mm that means six times more than on the east coast of the United States. The annual temperature is about 23 ║C or 76 Fahrenheit. Tortuguero rainforest is still exclusive and highly diverse, despite logging companies that worked thirty years in Tortuguero.

The oldest and tallest trees are the "rainforest almond trees" (Dipteryx panamensis), an attractive construction wood, which is so hard that even termites can't feed on it and it is heavier than water. The rainforest almond tree is the most important food source and host tree of the great green macaw (Ara ambigua), whose population in Central and South America is estimated  between 1000 and 2500 birds. The river vegetation is dominated by Raphia palms, fig trees, mimosas, leguminosas like the blood tree (Pterocarpus officinales) and provision trees (Pachira aquatica). Lianas, like Mucuna sp., which is pollinated by bats, hanging like curtains over the river vegetation.

Half of the Costa Rican bird species (around 400), 6 species of felines (jaguar, cougar, margay, ocelot, jaguarundi, little spotted cat), tapirs, manatees, peccaries,  monkeys, river otters  live in Tortuguero and  a great diversity of bats, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates. There are 3 monkey species, the mantled howler monkey, central american spider monkey and the white-faced capuchin monkey. The very endangerd spider monkey is very comun en Tortuguero dued  to the high diversity of plants.  In the last years population of the great green macaw has increased and in general you have a good posibility to observe them  in Tortuguero Town.

Beside the sea turtle studies and migratory bird banding, Tortuguero has a jaguar monitoring project. It is the only place in the world where a social behavior between different jaguar individuales have been documented. In Turtle season  jaguars imigrated from other parts to the beach and kill more than 400 turtles per season. 


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