EXPLORE the Cocos Island National Park with this slideshow, check the location map and get all the facts and information below.

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Map showing the location of Cocos Island world heritage site in Costa Rica

Factfile

Website Category: Marine & Coastal; Islands

Area: 2,021 km2

Year of Inscription: 1997 (extended 2002)

Criteria:

  • Ecological processes (ix);
  • Natural habitat for biodiversity (x);
  • Significant number of rare, endemic and/or endangered species (x)

Location and Values: The Cocos Island National Park is located in the tropical eastern Pacific, about 500 km from Costa Rica’s mainland. The island itself is relatively small, covering just 24 km2, but it supports the only tropical forest ecosystem on an oceanic island in the region and covers a range of altitude from sea level to 634 m asl. The isolation of this tropical rainforest has resulted in the evolution of significant numbers of unique plants (70 endemic species) and a few animals (three endemic land-birds and two reptiles), providing evidence of ongoing evolutionary processes. The marine component of the site is much more extensive than the island itself, covering 1,997 km2 of diverse marine ecosystems, ranging from coral reefs to deep ocean. It is especially important for the conservation of large pelagic marine species such as sharks, rays, tuna and dolphins, many of which use the Tropical Eastern Pacific Marine Corridor to migrate between the world heritage sites of Cocos Island, Coiba Island and the Galapagos Islands.

Conservation Status and Prospects. According to IUCN’s Conservation Outlook Assessment (2017) the conservation status of the Cocos Island National Park is of ‘significant concern’. The IUCN report notes that the main threats to the island’s terrestrial habitats come from introduced alien species, while marine ecosystems are being degraded by illegal fishing. In addition, the coral reefs are impacted by climate change (periodic elevations in temperature and acidification of water) as well as damage inflicted by divers and boat anchors. IUCN recognizes that management capacity to address these threats has been strengthened in recent years, but more needs to be done.

Links:
Google Earth
UNESCO Official Website
IUCN Conservation Outlook
UNEP-WCMC Site Description
Birdlife IBA

Slideshow description

Images of Cocos Island National Park World Heritage Site in Costa Rica

The slideshow ‘tells the story’ of Cocos Island National Park, showing its landscapes and habitats. The photos were taken by Peter Ryley during a sailing expedition through the eastern Pacific in the 1980s. This page of the website is still under development and a more detailed description of the various aspects of the Cocos Island National Park will be included in due course – so please come back again soon!

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