Peñas Blancas Wildlife Refuge


Peñas Blancas is an area of very rugged terrain made up of volcanic rocks from the Aguacate Group. Most of the refuge is covered by forests that have been altered to some extent, although the original forest mass can still be found in the remoter areas and in the river canyons. The vegetation in the lower areas, towards the south, consists of tropical dry forest. Towards the north and upper areas grows a promontane moist forest. Wildlife is scarce in the refuge, although there are numerous birds, and some mammals.
This wilderness area has been set aside to protect the watersheds of several rivers, to preserve, and to increase wildlife.
'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' 2,400 Ha. Peñas Blancas Refuge is located on rugged terrain of volcanic origin with peaks that go from 600 to 1.400 meters. The refuge takes its name of (> from the diatomite deposits in the canyons of some of the river beds or where there have been landslides in the upper regions. Diatomite is a porous sedimentary rock that is whitish in color and formed by the accumulation of siliceous shells left by diatom seaweeds of marine or lake origin. Much of the original forest has been altered to some extent, but in the more rugged tracts and in the river canyons the forest cover remains almost intact. A fairly deep canyon can be found in the Jabonal River, which more or less crosses through the center of the refuge. Towards the south in the lower regions of the refuge, the typical vegetation is tropical dry forest which makes it easy to see such species as the spiny cedar (Bombacopsis quina turn). gumbo-limbo (Bursera sirnaruba), mayflower (Tabebula rosea), wild plum (Spondias mom bin). freijo (Cordia aiiodora) and Spanish cedar (Cedrela odorata). Towards the lower middle region of the refuge, the forests are semi-deciduous and are typically composed of Pacific Dry zone species. with some wet zone species. such as the Piper curtispicum and Hansteinia ventricosa shrubs. The upper middle section towards the north is composed of typical premontane moist forest species. Ferns are very abundant throughout this area. Some of the species that grow here are the Aspleniurn crista turn, Diyopteris patula, and Diplazi urn plan taginifolium, a terrestrial fern that grows in the primary forest or in undisturbed climax communities. The Quercus brenesii oak, a tree that only grows about 25 meters tall, can be found in the upper reaches of the refuge between 600 to 1,500 meters. It grows in Costa Rica and Nicaragua and its wood has traditionally been used to make coal, which has placed it in danger of extinction. Other plants that are of interest to the botanist and that have been collected in the refuge include the Solandra brachycalyx. a shrub that begins as an epiphyte and grows into a bushy clump covered with large yellow flowers: the Ceiba rosea, an apiphytic tree with strangler roots and stems covered with razor-sharp thorns, specimens of which are not often collected; the Habenaria sp.. a ground orchid with green inflorescences; the Anthurium ranchoanum, a ground cover with bright green. leathery leaves; and the Rhipidocladum pittieri, a bamboo plant of the understorey which flowers in intervals of several years. The wildlife is scarce, although there are numerous birds. Some of the mammals that live in the refuge are the collared peccary (Tayassu tajacu), howler monkey (Alouatta paiiata), white-faced capuchin monkey (Cebus capucinus), kinkajou (Potos flavus), red brocket (Mazama americana), common racoon (Procyon lotor), black-eared opossum (Dideiphis marsupialis), and paca (Agouti paca), Butterflies abound throughout the refuge. This wilderness area has been set aside to protect the watersheds of several rivers, to conserve the forests, and to increase the wildlife.

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Leatherback turtle baby heading for the sea

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