Our Living Seas

Cocos Island

COSTA RICA

Cocos Island National Park is located 340 miles off the Pacific coast of Cost Rica and is the only island in the eastern Pacific with a tropical rainforest. It receives about 25 feet of rainfall each year and has approximately 70 waterfalls. Cocos was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997. Jacques Cousteau has said that Cocos is "The most beautiful island in the world".

It is a unique ecosystem that is known for its sharks (schooling scalloped hammerheads), rays, billfish, tuna, jacks, dolphins and over 25 endemic fish including the unusual rosy-lipped batfish. Even though it is protected, illegal poaching of large marine species continues. The demand for shark fin soup and other seafood has put pressure on this unique preserve. The Cocos park rangers do their best to patrol huge areas of these waters but are underfunded and have less than adequate boats and often no fuel. Some organizations such as Save Our Seas Foundation have projects to support the Park Rangers.