Independent photographers since about ten years, Christine and Franck Dziubak have a passion for animals, nature and travelling. They like to observe fauna and flora, to study the behaviors of the species and to photograph them, it is for them an art to live.
They dedicate themselves to the realization of wildlife reports, essentially in Central America, and are fascinated by the tropical forest and the wealth of this biodiversity.
| ||RIO CELESTE : At only 10 Miles away from Tenorio Lodge, in the Tenorio Volcano National Park, begins the trail through the forest. After 750 yards fall of steep steps in the hillside, you will reach the famous falls of the Celeste River. This fast-flowing stream seems to tear the green hill before to fall 65 feet lower into a basin of such a sky-blue colour that will bring out the most spontaneous expressions of wonder.
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| ||QUETZAL - KING OF THE BIRDS : In Central America, from Southern Mexico to Panama, lives one of the most splendid birds on the planet, and also one of the least known. |
A magnificent gauge of the state of health of its ecosystem, the quetzal still haunts the dense highland tropical forests of Costa Rica. A portrait of one of the most extravagant treasures of our biodiversity…
Legend has it that, once upon a time, the proud and ambitious quetzal wanted to be king! He bedecked himself with the finest feathers taken from the other birds. Maya priests used them to decorate their costumes. Moreover, “ quetzalli “ means beautiful in their language! At that time the bird was sacred, its feathers were more valuable than gold, and killing them was considered a capital crime.
Today, the Maya civilisation has long disappeared from Central America… and the quetzal population is dwindling at the same unrelenting pace as deforestation. The national emblem of Guatemala, whose currency also takes its name from the bird, the quetzal has all but disappeared from its forests.
Costa Rica is home to one of its five subspecies, the Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno). Most of its body is a blaze of green, which contrasts strikingly with its vermillion red breast. The male flaunts two long rectrices, again green, forming a train sometimes greater than one metre in length, which is two to three times the size of the bird itself.
And a king must have a kingdom: the Talamanca mountain range, which reaches 3800 metres at its highest point, better known as the Cerro de la Muerte (Mountain of Death). Quetzals are spoilt for choice when it comes to gorging themselves on aguacatillo, the fruit of an avocado tree belonging to the laurel family, their favourite repast, which accounts for eighty percent of an adult’s diet. The rest is made up of a multitude of other varieties of fruit, insects, various invertebrates, small lizards and frogs. By regurgitating the fruit stones, the quetzal inseminates and propagates new shoots, which contribute to regenerating the forest.
The end of December brings the start of the mating season. Dressed in wedding attire, the male redoubles its displays of air acrobatics and stationary flight. It is then that the long, oversized and cumbersome tail feathers play the star role in the act of seduction.
The couple then goes in search of a nest, a hollowed out cavity in the rotten wood of a dead tree, usually the same one, year after year. If a stone marten or a tayra can’t find its nest, a young fledgling or two will soon be taking wing…
It is estimated that, at most, 600 to 900 quetzal couples remain In Costa Rica. The bird’s status in Appendix I of CITES, along with its ranking on the IUCN’s sinister red list of endangered species, seem to weigh heavily on the side of an uncertain future.
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| ||LAS PUMAS RESCUE CENTER : The rescue center "Las Pumas", created in the 60th by Dona Lilly Bodmer Hagnauer, is one of the centers in Guanacaste where you can observe the wild animals, in captivity and the unique place regrouping the 6 species of felines of Costa Rica. The rescue center receives all types of animals: those that are seized by the authorities, brought by their owners or find injured on the roads. The center takes care of these animals and, if possible reintroduces them in their natural habitat. If they cannot be freed, the center provides them a shelter, simulating the most possible their natural habitat.
The Foundation Hagnauer, a non-profit institution, has been founded in 2003, with objective to continue the conservation and the preservation of fauna and flora initiate by Dona Lilly Bodmer Hagnauer. Since 1960, she had a futuristic vision while projecting the conservation of the species of plants and animal native of the dry forests of this region. Currently, the foundation encourages the education and the awareness of the public for the importance of the protection of the environment. The animals maintained at the center give the opportunity to the visitors to acquire some knowledge on the wild fauna and sensitize them aware of not to acquire any wild animals. |
| ||THE ARA MACAW, FREEDOM REGAINED IN COSTA RICA. : The Ara Macaw lives more than 60 years in the wild and measures 80 cm. Its diet is composed of over 40 varieties of fruit, nuts and seeds that its extremely powerful beak has no difficulty in breaking. It also uses this multi-function tool to move among trees to reach its favourite foods more easily. Like most parrots, it is under eminent danger of extinction… |
Deforestation of dry tropical forests in Costa Rica during the 1950s greatly reduced the habitat of the Ara Macaws. Today, only a few scanty areas remain where these superb, brightly coloured red, yellow and blue parrots can be observed in the wild. In addition to the threats it is subjected to, such as hunting and poaching, the red Ara has great difficulty adapting to the transformation of its habitat.
"Amigos de Las Aves", a non-governmental association (NGO) in Costa Rica, is working for its conservation. Margot and Richard Frisius, who settled in Costa Rica 25 years ago, run the NGO. In 1986, they were the first bird breeders in Costa Rica to succeed in accomplishing the feat of breeding Aras in captivity.
Margot and Richard gathered together nearly 300 injured Aras that had suffered mistreatment, or were abandoned or confiscated, at the « Flor de mayo » centre near the capital, San José. Assisted by a team of volunteers and salaried workers of all nationalities, they do research and conservation work. Their wild gamble is the reintroduction of the Aras in their natural habitat. Their confessed goal is to see the species breed again in the wild without human assistance.
This has led to the creation of other reintroduction programmes in 3 sites in Costa Rica. The setting for one of them - the first and oldest - is the Curû private reserve (Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre) in the southern part of the Nicoya peninsula. The Ara Macaw population had become extinct there thirty years ago! A first group of Aras was successfully reintroduced in this 1500-hectare area in 1999. A second reintroduction programme was created in 2002 in the south of the country not far from Punta Banco. Closely studied by biologists and young researchers, their habits are now better known as are their feeding habits, a promise for the success of future programmes!
Around ten Ara Macaws now enjoy freedom again in Curu and have formed pairs. The breeding of one of the pairs is going well and the not so foolish dream of Margot and Richard is about to come true.
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