San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Prehistoric Tico Species Featured at New Park

A new park featuring two dozen statues of extinct and endangered Costa Rican species opened earlier this month in the Pacific province of Puntarenas.

Parque Megafauna features 26 life-size replicas of extinct and endangered animals.

Most of the 20 models of prehistoric animals represent Costa Rican species. Among them is Pampatherium, a prehistoric relative of the armadillo that lived during the Pleistocene, from 1.8 million years ago to 12,000 years ago. Pampatheriums are thought to have weighed up to 500 pounds.

Another statue represents Titanis walleri, a flightless bird of prey that is believed to have been up to nine feet tall. Better known as the terror bird, this predatory species lived about 2 million years ago. T. walleri fossils have been found in the Americas, from the U.S. state of Florida to Argentina.

Most of the other replicas depict endangered indigenous species such as the tapir, a distant relative of horses and rhinoceroses. Tyrannosaurus rex, which did not live in Costa Rica, was included among the park’s statues for its general interest value, said Giselle Rodríguez, executive secretary of the Monteverde Conservation League, a conservation organization based in the Monteverde area in north-central Costa Rica.

Project Megafauna is located on a farm belonging to Productores de Monteverde,

the makers of Monteverde brand cheese. The park is run by the cheese company and the conservation league.

Tickets to the park cost ¢2,000 ($3.90) for adults; two children under 12 may accompany each adult for free.

The park is next to the Restaurante de Productores de Monteverde on the Inter-American Highway, five kilometers past the entrance to Sardinal, in the Puntarenas province. It is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

A percentage of the proceeds from the park will go to reforestation projects in Monteverde and environmental education.

The percentage that will be donated has not been determined.

For more information, call the Monteverde Conservation League at 645-5200.


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