At their February meeting, members of Ferring Conservation Group turned out in good numbers to hear an excellent presentation by their own committee member and wildlife expert, Tricia Hall, on a recent organised trip to the wildlife rich country of Costa Rica in Central America.
They learnt that this country makes up just 0.1% of the world’s land mass but is home to 5% of its wildlife species, with many different climates and habitats which support in the region of 500,000 species of plants and animals. Incredibly, Tricia told the audience that there are around 50 species of Hummingbirds in Costa Rica and more butterfly species than in the whole of North America and Africa. Tricia said that the government had a very strong policy on conservation, saving money on defence and paying landowners to plant trees on their land.
The virtual tour of the country took the audience in an anticlockwise circular journey including both the coasts of the Caribbean and the Pacific oceans, as well as a wide variety of inland areas – the highlight of which was probably the volcanoes of the Arenal area in the west of the country. Some of the wildlife highlights illustrated by some brilliant photographs were such creatures as Iguanas, Caymans, Crocodiles, Toucans, Capuchin and Howler monkeys, as well as Sloths and a wide variety of exotic birds. Amazingly, many of these were seen within the grounds of the hotels where the party stayed.
One very amusing story Tricia told was about their coach driver who had to answer a call of nature behind a tree and when looking up he saw what turned out to be an Eyelash Pit Viper just above him. He didn’t stay close for too long!
It was a most enjoyable and entertaining talk, and was followed by a presentation by Julie Toben from local animal welfare organisation, WADARS, on the recent planning application to develop their rescue and re-homing centre in Hangleton Lane, Ferring. She outlined all the relevant points in the application, and carefully debunked a small number of negative comments made by others. At the conclusion, members voted on how the Group should formally respond to the application, and the 70+ members present voted unanimously to support it as an important and welcome addition to local animal welfare facilities.