Said to hold 4 percent of the world’s biodiversity, the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica’s southwest is known as a hotspot for animal encounters. But this week area residents spotted an animal they had never seen before: a sea lion.
According to the staff at Casa Corcovado Jungle Lodge, a hotel bordering Corcovado National Park, the sea lion emerged from the ocean in the afternoon on Tuesday looking confused. The animal stayed on the beach for four or five hours before heading back into the ocean.
“This is the first time we have ever seen a sea lion here,” said Giovanny Ramírez, the general manager of Casa Corcovado . “We just watched it while it was on the beach and took some photos before it left.”
Sea lions are cold-water mammals, and no known sub-species of sea lions are native to Costa Rica’s warm tropical waters. The South American sea lion, California sea lion, Steller sea lion and Galapagos sea lion all live along the coast of the Americas, but their populations are concentrated to the north and south.
The hotel informed the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) of the sea lion sighting, and SINAC officials say the lost sea creature was likely caught in a current and carried into Costa Rican waters.