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Costa Rica's Cocos Island Protects Marine Life (PHOTOS)

First Posted: 03/09/11 08:50 AM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 07:35 PM ET

A new marine protected area has been created surrounding Costa Rica’s Cocos Island National Park, thanks to new protective measures supported by the country’s president. The area was formed to conserve the unique island’s ecosystem and protect nearby underwater mountains.

According to Conservation International, the area will protect threatened species like the scalloped hammerhead shark and the leatherback turtle -- the leatherback turtle population in Costa Rica has declined by 90% in the past 20 years, due partly to the illegal harvesting of eggs.

Conservation International’s Dr. Bryan Wallace states, “This new protected area gives us a better chance to ensure that these species will thrive for future generations to marvel at for many decades to come.”

All captions and photos courtesy of Conservation International.

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Hammerhead sharks, largely lost from much of their former range, are still found in schools numbering in the hundreds around Cocos Island.

© Conservation International/ photo by Sterling Zumbrunn
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Filed by Joanna Zelman  |