Abused toucan Grecia can sing, eat again


This video from Costa Rica says about itself:

One Brave Toucan

22 August 2016

The victim of extreme animal cruelty, Grecia the toucan arrived at the ZooAve Rescue Center without the top half of its beak. As his caregivers work to find a solution, they admire Grecia’s bravery throughout his ordeal.

ZooAve is in Alajuela. I was in Alajuela. Later, I also saw toucans in Costa Rica; both in the wild and in an another rescue center.

Grecia is a chestnut-mandibled toucan.

From NPR in the USA:

After Losing Half A Beak, Grecia The Toucan Becomes A Symbol Against Abuse

August 27, 201611:45 AM ET

Remember the toucan in Costa Rica who had its upper beak hacked off by a perpetrator who was never found?

Well, here’s an update to a story we first told you about last year. And, spoiler alert — it has a happy ending.

Local residents brought the bird to a nearby animal rescue center. And thanks to its dedicated workers, amazing doctors and engineers, the toucan now has a prosthetic beak.

That new beak and Grecia, as the bird’s called, went on public display just this last week at ZooAve, a private animal rescue center about 30 minutes outside Costa Rica’s capitol.

Nine-year-old Leonardo Jimenez was thrilled to finally see the bird.

“This is the third time I’ve tried to see Grecia,” he says.

Jimenez started following Grecia’s plight ever since the bird was brought here in January, 2015. Nearly its entire top beak was cut off.

“She was really bad off,” says ZooAve caretaker Ronald Sibaja. “All that was left of the top beak was a jagged bloody stump”.

Sibaja refers to Grecia as “she,” although no one knows its gender. It would have to take a blood test to determine its sex, an added stress Sibaja says the injured bird didn’t need.

“When the veterinarian did that first exam we all thought she would have to be euthanized,” says Sibaja.

Toucans need their beaks for everything from eating to regulating body temperature. But he says you could tell Grecia wanted to live. She sang as best she could and would try to eat.

Sibaja says he had read about eagles and ducks getting prosthetic beaks and suggested one for Grecia.

When the decision was made to get the bird a new beak, news of Grecia and her prosthesis campaign went viral. A 3-D printing company from the U.S. with partners in Costa Rica signed on to make the beak.

Filmmaker Paula Heredia documented Grecia’s year-long recovery for Discovery Channel’s Animal Planet.

“Everybody was working for free, all the group of scientists,” Heredia says, including a dentist, experts in nanotechnology and industrial designers.

In the end, Grecia was fitted with a synthetic beak, made of nylon assembled in a 3-D laser printer.

The beak was made in two parts. The top was glued to Grecia’s stump with a special epoxy, and the longer, second part is attached with a pin. That way the beak can be removed for periodic cleaning.

ZooAve caretakers decided to leave the synthetic beak white and not paint it. They say they didn’t want to cover up the abuse Grecia had suffered.

Filmmaker Heredia says Grecia’s rehabilitation was inspiring, but equally motivating was how this small bird sparked a national movement for animal rights. Under current Costa Rican law, there’s no punishment other than a minuscule fine to whoever brutalized the toucan.

“So when the case of Grecia happened and it went so viral around the world, Grecia became this icon for this changing in the law,” says Heredia.

Animal rights activist Juan Carlos Peralta says citizens had gotten a ban on hunting wild animals passed, but that a bill to protect and punish animal abusers had stalled over the last years in the legislature.

“Grecia motivated and moved our entire country to do more,” Peralta says.

Costa Ricans held rallies in support of the new anti-abuse bill. Just last Sunday, they held another march down the capital’s main street chanting “no to animal abuse.” And they gathered signatures to get the bill made into law.

ZooAve animal caretaker Ronald Sibaja is hopeful the bill will pass by the end of the year. He says he believes there’s a reason why things happen the way they do.

“What happened to Grecia was terrible,” he says. “But it brought awareness of animal abuse in our country,” says Sibaja.

Now he says he hopes something good will come out of something so ugly yet again.

Giro d’Italia cycling, from Costa Rican to Dutch victory


This 20 May 2016 video in Spanish shows Costa Rican cyclist Andrey Amador winning the leader’s pink jersey in the Giro d’Italia cycling race.

Andrey Amador was the first Costa Rican ever, and the first Central American cyclist ever, to wear the pink jersey.

However, that was yesterday.

Today was a very difficult mountain stage.

When Amador had difficulty following other favourites on a steep slope, a woman waving a Costa Rican flag started running besides him, encouraging him.

By going downhill fast after the mountain top, Amador managed to catch up with other favourites again.

However, then came another mountain, and still another one …

Amador lost his pink jersey to Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk.

This April 2016 video is called Kruijswijk aiming high at the Giro d’Italia.

This is a Dutch interview with Kruijswijk after winning the pink jersey today.

Tomorrow, there will be time trial stage up a mountain. Kruijswijk now has 41 seconds advantage on number two, Italian favourite Nibali.

Who will win?

Costa Rican bat news


This video says about itself:

16 December 2008

A Super Natural Adventure into the misunderstood world of the bat. Filmed on location at Tirimbina Rainforest Center in Costa Rica. Ryan Jacobus explains all about the jungle ecosystem and the bat’s amazing ability to use echo location to find its prey.

From The Costarican Times:

Christmas Bat Count Reveals New Bats in Costa Rica

2015/12/23

Every year, on the 11th and 12th of December, people from Panama to Mexico go outside for a very different type of event, the Christmas Bat Count.

The event is organized by the Central American Strategy for Bat Conservation and the Latin American and Caribbean Network for the Conservation of Bats.

Over 60 participants came out in Costa Rica, including biologists, volunteer firefighters, students, and even a 7 year old child. SINAC, UCR, OTS and Bat Jungle Projects were involved in the effort.

The search for bat species occurred in Santa Rosa National Park, La Amistad International Park, Tirimbina Biological Reserve, Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve, Palo Verde National Park, Monteverde, Barva Volcano National Park, Diria National Park and the Barra Honda National Park. This allowed observers to work in three ecosystems; rainforest, cloud forest and dry forest.

A total of 61 species were seen. Seven hairy-legged vampire bats were observed, which are not common in the country. Another surprise was that the fruit bat, which is usually in middle lands, was spotted in Guanacaste.

Wildlife watching in Costa Rica: How to spot sloths, whales and birds. This Central American nation is one of the world’s most biodiverse, and it’s becoming even more accessible, thanks to new flights from the UK: here.

‘Kermit-like’ frog discovery in Costa Rica


This video from the USA says about itself:

Newfound species of frog has eyes like Kermit

20 April 2015

The frog, found in Costa Rica, has translucent skin and eyes that many people say resemble those of the world’s most famous frog.

From Discovery.com:

Real-Life Kermit the Frog Found in Costa Rica

04/20/15

Wildlife researcher Brian Kubicki has identified a new species of glass frog that bears a striking resemblance to everyone’s favorite childhood frog. Discovered in Costa Rica, Hyalinobatrachium dianae is easily identifiable by its lime green flesh, translucent underside and large, Kermit-like eyes.

H. dianae was discovered in the Talamanca mountains; it is the first new species of glass frog to be discovered in Costa Rica in over 40 years. Kubicki posits that the frog remained hidden from researchers for so long thanks to its mating call, which more closely resembles that of insects than frogs.

No word yet if there is a Miss Piggy look-alike pig also residing in the same jungle.

Click here for more information from The Tico Times.

Miss Piggy-like pigs are not in jungles in Costa Rica, as far as I know. Collared peccaries, related to pigs, do live there.

The scientific description of the new frog species is here.

See also here.

Yellow-billed cotinga online


Yellow-billed cotingas

From Neotropical Birds Online:

New on Neotropical Birds Online: completed account for the endangered Yellow-billed Cotinga (Carpodectes antoniae). This account features what may be the first-ever images of a juvenile of this beautiful, ghostly, and declining species.

Yellow-billed cotingas live only in southern Costa Rica and adjacent southwestern Panama.

Costa Rican birds, bye-bye!


This video is called Amazing hummingbirdsCosta Rica.

31 March 2014.

After yesterday, today departure from Costa Rica.

To Panama and beyond.

Early in the morning on the bird table: clay-coloured thrush and blue-grey tanager.

Also buff-throated saltator and rufous-collared sparrow.

This video from Colombia is called Buff-throated Saltator, Silver-throated & Lemon-rumped Tanagers.

On our way to the airport: great-tailed grackles.

15:00, Panamanian time: a great-tailed grackle flies past a window at Panama City airport. Like when this journey began; closing the circle.

Bird book about Costa Rica: here.

The Birds of Costa Rica: A Field Guide (Second Edition): here.

Birds and beetles in Costa Rica: here.

Great-tailed grackles: here.

In this first of our 2015 series of interviews with sustainable tourism thinkers, shakers and doers, Rainforest Alliance President Tensie Whelan shares her thoughts on sustainable tourism, Costa Rica, and the challenges involved in promoting sustainability: here.

SAN JOSE, Jul 26 2016 (IPS) – While Latin America keeps expanding its agricultural frontier by converting large areas of forest, one country, Costa Rica, took a different path and it’s now a role-model for a peaceful coexistence between food production and sustainable forestry: here.