ISV supports the Golfo Dulce Cetacean Project in Costa Rica

by on Friday, 13 July 2012

Cetaceans of Golfo Dulce

Golfo Dulce is an incredible natural area located on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica, one of the most biodiverse places on the planet and a natural laboratory for research and conservation of Cetaceans (whales and dolphins).

Since 2007, ISV has supported the Golfo Dulce Cetacean Projects led by marine mammal expert and PhD candidate Lenin Oviedo. The Golfo Dulce project and long-term goals are to determine and monitor the role of coastal and oceanic cetaceans, particularly spotted and bottlenose dolphins and humpback whales as indicators of marine biodiversity in a habitat of great importance.

ISV volunteers assist with data research

Assessments of the Golfo Dulce marine habitat are made possible through the support of ISV volunteers. In just five years, ISV volunteers have assisted with more than 350 research trips by boat into Golfo Dulce to document the habitat use of spotted dolphins, bottlenose dolphins and humpback whales. The data have helped identify critical habitat and behaviour for these species and have provided researchers with the information they need to seek special protection for the gulf as an Area of Conservation Importance and special ecological value.

On Friday June 15th, I had the pleasure of representing ISV in a meeting with renowned Costa Rican marine researchers and it was obvious that David Herra, the project field coordinator  who was with me, impressed the others with his knowledge of the area and many years of experience within this site. The meeting included the top 10 organizations, like MarViva  and scientists working on marine conservation and research in Costa Rica, but no one knew Golfo Dulce the way David does!

ISV data ensures ongoing protection for the gulf

International Whaling Commission

From June 12-24, ISV sponsored the participation of Golfo Dulce Cetacean Project Research Associate, Amaru Márquez, in presenting the results of previous years’ research to the Scientific Committee at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meetings that took place in Panama this year. Several participants recognized the importance of the research undertaken in Golfo Dulce and recommended that this information be included in the planning processes for marine management areas of Costa Rica.

International Whaling Commission Conference Panama 2012

We are very happy to share the results of this initiative as we continue to support this vital research program. The information gathered with the help of ISV volunteers will provide important criteria for improving management of Golfo Dulce biodiversity. We offer sincere thanks to all ISV participants who have made this possible and to those volunteering here in the future who will help us achieve even more.

For more information on ISV and our conservation-research volunteer programs in Costa Rica please visit

Wagner Quiros, ISV Costa Rica Projects Director

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