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Wildlife Conservation Association (WCA)

Conservation
Environmental Education
Animal Welfare
Education
Rural Economic Development
Technology & STEAM
Nosara

The Wildlife Conservation Association (WCA) is a non-profit organization in Nosara, Costa Rica, dedicated to inspiring sustainable living through research, community engagement, and immersive educational experiences. We believe that successful conservation is dependent on us making the change to a sustainable lifestyle, where a harmonious balance of social, environmental, and economic interests exists.

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About Us

The Wildlife Conservation Association (WCA) is a non-profit organization in Nosara, Costa Rica, dedicated to inspiring sustainable living through research, community engagement, and immersive educational experiences. We believe that successful conservation is dependent on us making the change to a sustainable lifestyle, where a harmonious balance of social, environmental, and economic interests exists.

Our Vision & Mission

Our vision is to be a leading example locally and internationally in wildlife conservation through our research, sustainability, and educational programs. Our mission is a planet in balance.

  • Mitigate the impact of the area’s burgeoning tourism industry and rapid development on wildlife
  • Attract scientists and nature enthusiasts from around the world, inspiring sustainable living and community conservation on a global scale
  • Feature awe-inspiring educational experiences and wildlife tours
  • Strengthen partnerships between nonprofits and local community

Program Areas

Research | Wildlife Conservation | Education | Community Outreach | Sustainable Tourism | Sustainable Development

Current Programs

Thousands of Turtles Tours | Sustainable Tourism Platform | Nosara Biodiversity Project | Water Quality Monitoring | Sea Turtle Conservation | Sea Turtle Behavior and Marine Biodiversity Research

Program Descriptions

Thousands of Turtles Tours

Sea turtle tourism has grown significantly in Ostional but the Refuge currently does not currently have the resources or finances to meet conservation management needs. This project aims to minimize the impact of tourism on sea turtles and other wildlife by providing awe-inspiring educational experiences and implementing sustainable tourism practices.

We achieve this through a unique collaboration with the Refuge administration, local guides and other organizations that share our view. All revenue is reinvested in promoting sustainable practices, scientific research and conservation initiatives in the area, including donations to support the Refuge directly.

Sustainable Tourism Platform

Over the last decade, Nosara has been recognized as a top tourism destination as well as the fastest-growing surf destination in the world. This initiative aims to develop a plan for sustainable tourism in Nosara, facilitating dialogue between tourism agents in the area to establish common goals for sustainable tourism. This process, initially led by a facilitator who conducted a stakeholders analysis and workshop discussions, ended with the creation of a Chamber of Tourism that enables effective communication between the tourism sector of Nosara and the Refuge administration. The Multi-Actor Tourism Platform continues to meet on a monthly basis to discuss urgent issues and take actions in coordination with the Refuge administration.

Nosara Biodiversity Project

Costa Rica hosts about 5% of the world’s biodiversity and the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge protects a diversity of flora and fauna within its marine and terrestrial protected areas. This research project seeks to discover the diversity of life that occurs in the area by conducting scientific biodiversity assessments and engaging the community in citizen science. A research team established camera traps at Nosara Civic Associations parklands and regularly conducts biodiversity surveys. The involvement of the community also plays a key role in this program. Community members report their observations on iNaturalist, a website and app which automatically collects and compiles data for the area. The resulting interactive map of biodiversity enables us to make educated decisions to minimize the impact of development.

Water Quality Monitoring

Only 14% of wastewater is treated in Costa Rica, threatening to contaminate drinking and recreational water while many communities already have limited access to potable drinking water. This program monitors water quality in the area and shares this important health and safety information with the public, bringing awareness to local water quality issues. A laboratory for water quality analysis was established and results are shared on social media platforms and through the SwimGuide.org website and app.

Sea Turtle Conservation

A majority of sea turtles nests in Guiones and Pelada are illegally taken or depredated by domestic dogs. However, limited resources exist for a full-scale conservation program at this time. Our goal develop and implement outreach and educational materials ​on sea turtle biology and conservation, bringing science to the community and engaging them as citizen scientists to collect data on sea turtle nesting activity. We work closely with the Refuge administration to increase beach protection by limiting motorized vehicle access and the presence of domestic animals in the Refuge. Basic training is provided to volunteers to identify and report sea turtle nests during morning beach surveys to collect data and monitor the local sea turtle population.

Sea Turtle Behavior and Marine Biodiversity Research

The Ostional Refuge hosts the highest density of sea turtles on Earth and a diversity of marine life. To ensure appropriate conservation measures are taken within the marine protected area, we need to learn more about sea turtle behavior at sea and find out what type of life exists in the area. This research study utilizes an underwater drone (or ROV) to collect and analyze footage and create content to share with the public.


Thousands Needs

Amigos of Costa Rica is supported by
the CRUSA Foundation

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