Here we are at last. After two months working with Jorge on the Osa Peninsula, eighty-two interviews with fishermen and guides, thirty days on the water, and several subsequent months of data analysis, literature reviews and writing, my project report for our multi-species marine sighting survey in Golfo Dulce is finally available for your reading pleasure. Okay, maybe it’s not for everyone, but if you are interested in the findings…
For someone who enjoys the impartial and meticulous world of science as I do, it’s exciting to garner and contribute information to the great body of knowledge from which we are all elevated. Our efforts did bring insight into Golfo Dulce’s fauna along with a few interesting surprises, like unexpectedly high numbers of Green/Black sea turtles and weird skin lesions on some of the resident Bottlenose dolphins.
In all, we logged 234 first-hand sightings, including several humpback whales, dozens of sea snakes, hundreds of dolphins and sea turtles and a slew of other marine species. You followed my blogs from the field, filled with images of the wildlife we saw. Experiencing such beauty first-hand might have seemed reason enough to do the project—the rewards of contact with the natural world are plentiful—but ultimately, Jorge and I did the endless hours of work… hauled the gear… endured the sun… because we believe in the capacity of individuals to make a difference.
“Knowledge is power,” surmised Sir Francis Bacon. Researchers strive to uncover accurate details about the world. Those details, once shared, can help people make more informed decisions. With the critical input of those local fishermen/guides and the support of Friends of the Osa, our data now adds to the understanding of Golfo Dulce and the final report may serve to enlighten discussions regarding conservation. Espero nuestros datos ayudan a proteger el futuro del golfo, I had said to Jorge at the bus station before I departed the Osa. I hope our data helps protect the future of the gulf. Knowing that is the wish of everyone who lives there, he showed me his hand, fingers crossed. Only time will tell.
More information at http://osaconservation.org/blog/1055/important-mammal-survey-of-the-golfo-dulce/.