Hitoy-Cerere Biological Reserve


9,154 Ha.
This reserve is located in a region of very rugged terrain and very high humidity. It rains over 3,500 mm. a year and there is no defined dry season. As a result of this heavy rainfall, the reserve is crisscrossed by innumerable rock-strewn streams and swift, whitewater rivers. Spectacular waterfalls plunge from considerable heights throughout the reserve. It is interesting to note that the Bribr´┐Ż Indian names for this reserve are related to characteristics of its waterways: Hitoy means woolly, a reference to the fact that the rocks in this river are covered with moss and algae, while Cerere means clear waters.
The forests are thick evergreen with several stories and an immense biological complexity. Due to environmental factors such as soil, slope incline, drainage and exposure to wind, several habitats have evolved that are markedly different according to tree height and forest composition. The elevation of the forest cover varies, although it is generally quite high. Most of the trees in the upper layer grow to 30 meters high and those of the emergent layer can reach 50 meters or more. The most common species are crabwood (Carapa guianensis), wild tamarind (Pen taclethra macroloba), Santa Maria (Calophyllum brasilense). silk cotton (Ceiba pentandra), possum-wood (Hura crepitans), nargusta (Terminalia chiriquensis), malady (Aspidosperma megalocarpum), balsa (Ochrozna lagopus), bully tree (Hieronyma alchorneoides), gumbo-limbo (Bursera simaruba), and cow tree (Brosimum utile). Most of the trees are cloaked by mosses and lichen, and orchids, bromeliads and other epiphytic plants cascade from the branches. Tree ferns grow in the understorey and the ground is covered with selaginella (Selaginella sp.).
There is a wealth and variety of wildlife in the reserve, although most of the species are either nocturnal or live in the tree-tops and are therefore difficult to see. Some of the mammals that live here are the three-toed sloth (Bradypus variegatus), silky anteater (Cyclopes didactylus), gray four-eyed opossum (Philander opossum), otter (Lutra longicaudus), woolly opossum (Caluromys derbianus), tapir (Tapirus bairdii), jaguar (FelLs onca), red brocket (Mazama americana), tayra ('Eira barbara), margay cat Felis weiddi, collared peccary (Tayassu tajacu), and howler and white-faced capuchin monkeys (Alouatta paiiata and Cebus capucinus).
115 species of bird have been observed, including the Montezuma oropendola (Psarocolius montezuma), which groups together to build several nests that hang from one single tree, turkey vulture (Cathartes aura), blue-headed parrot (Pionus menstruus), cayenne squirrel-cuckoo (Piaya cayana), spectacled owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata), blue-crested hummingbird (Amaziia amabiis), slaty-tailed trogon (Trogon massena), green kingfisher (Chioroceryle americana) and keel-billed toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus). Frogs and toads are fairly numerous although they have not been studied yet.
The Hitoy-Cerere region forms part of the Talamanca Mountain Range. The formation of this extensive mountain system began in the Eocene, some 40-60 million years ago. Volcanic activity first, and then phenomena associated with plate tectonics setting shaped the range some 3-5 million years ago. Not many biological studies have been made in the reserve and there are even areas which have not yet been explored.

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White-faced capucin monkey
Many white-faced capuchin monkeys live in the reserve

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