San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Fake Tattoos to Raise Funds For Osa Conservation

U.S.-Costa Rican astronaut and national hero Franklin Chang is flexing his muscles for a cause other than space exploration and scientific research – a campaign launched Tuesday features Chang calling for protection of wildlife in the southern OsaPeninsula.

A poster for the campaign, called “Osa In Your Skin,” has Chang flexing his bicep and lifting up his sleeve to reveal a temporary tattoo of a jaguar, one of five species featured on tattoos to be sold at supermarkets, corner stores and other locations for ¢500 (about $1) apiece.

Funds from the sale of these tattoos will go to a trust managed by Banco de Costa Rica with the goal of raising $3 million for the Osa Campaign, or 10% of the goal set by campaign organizers in 2003, according to a statement from the campaign.

Since then, the campaign has raised about $18 million.

These funds are key for protecting the OsaPeninsula, home to 2.5% of the world’s species and one of the richest areas of biodiversity on the planet, explained Jan Holtermann, president of the Osa Campaign’s national committee.

The idea behind the tattoos is to “create a sense of national pride” for the Osa and remind Costa Ricans that if they don’t support efforts toward conservation and sustainable development of the area, endangered species could soon disappear.

In addition to the tattoos, the campaign features a 30-second TV commercial with Costa Ricans of various ages sporting the tattoos, interspersed with scenic shots of the lush, green OsaPeninsula.

“I carry the Osa in my blood and I also want to carry it on my skin,” is the message broadcasted against upbeat yet sentimental music.

Tattoos of jaguars, dolphins, whales, frogs and parrots are on sale at Automercado stores as well as other supermarkets and corner stores around the country, Holtermann explained. The Osa Campaign is also looking into possible alliances with schools to make the tattoos available to students.

Several nonprofits including The Nature Conservancy and Conservation International as well as the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) and private businesses such as Banco de Costa Rica and Luna Lodge collaborated on the campaign.


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