BENEFITING: ECO PRESERVATION SOCIETY
Fifty years ago, the Pacific coast of Central America was a wild coastal jungle. The tiny Mono Titi monkey ranged freely from Panama through Costa Rica. Today, the Mono Titi is restricted to two small, disconnected scraps of habitat, Manuel Antonio National Park, north of Playa El Ray, and Corcovado National Park to the south. Every day, the Mono Titi's habitat diminishes, and so do the Mono Titi. During the middle of the last century, Costa Rica emerged from third world impoverishment through a national agricultural development program. Devastating deforestation made way for alien crops like bananas, rice and cattle. Developers imported their visions of a tropical paradise by erecting modern resorts surrounded by coconut palms, also non-indigenous to Costa Rica and unsupportive to native wildlife. Thus, the Mono Titi are left with nowhere to go. They are trapped in two small islands of habitat amidst an inhospitable landscape, no biological corridor connecting them and no hope for survival without substantial intervention.
Saving the Mono Titi requires the restoration of a biological corridor between the Naranjo River and the Savegre River. Not an easy undertaking. The project requires removing and reversing the negative effects of non-native plants, such as deep-rooted grasses, sea almond and coconut palms. Then natural mangrove colonies must be re-established, using native varieties of mangrove, ferns and other salt-tolerant species. Ultimately, a biological corridor connecting the two separate Mono Titi habits would spare the monkeys from extinction and provide additional habitat for other indigenous Costa Rican animals.