As part of an ongoing research effort, INBio conducts extensive inventorying and monitoring programs, collecting data about Costa Rica’s flora and fauna at various locations to share with government and other entities. The organization helps formalize agreements for the use of species that represent economic potential in medicine. INBio has also joined international conservation efforts to preserve biodiversity through economic development projects such as eco-tourism, medicine and agriculture.
INBio promotes biodiversity through education programs to keep the topic at the forefront of the national agenda, publishing books and conducting lectures and workshops. Its largest educational undertaking is the ecological attraction, INBioparque, established in 2000. Part zoo, research station, garden, forest and farm, the sprawling complex is located in the community of Santo Domingo de Heredia, a twenty minute drive north by car from Costa Rica’s capital city, San Jose. The park attracts some 100,000 visitors a year, including many visitors on Costa Rica tours as well as citizens and student groups that come to the park to enjoy and learn about nature. The park contains representational flora and fauna species of Costa Rica’s different ecological regions, some growing in the wild and others in captivity. The dozens of bird species that inhabit or pass through the park are inventoried monthly.
INBioparque offers a variety of tours. Visitors who travel to Costa Rica may explore the park on their own self-guided tours Fridays and weekends. Two-hour guided hiking tours through the park are led by naturalists and take place several times a week, offering an opportunity to spot sloths and other species that visitors hope to see on Costa Rica tours. The park’s guided evening excursion lets visitors learn about nocturnal species, offering a unique perspective on Costa Rica’s biodiversity and the Institute’s efforts to preserve the country’s fragile eco-systems. Advance reservations are required for all tours. Lectures and workshops on conservation topics are held in the park.
INBio is a private, non-profit organization that derives most of its funding from earned sources, including park revenues, book sales, bio-prospecting agreements and other special projects. To learn more about the work of INBio, the source for this article, go to INBio.