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Cocos Island Trees
Credit: © Conservation International/ Scott Henderson.
Cocos Island, more than 300 miles (480 kilometers) from Costa Rica's western coastline, is tiny and uninhabited. Its steep slopes are covered with tropical forests that receive up to 10 feet (3 meters) of rain each year. People aboard sailboats hugging the coastline can collect water directly from the waterfalls that cascade out of the forest.
The tropical waters around the Pacific island are full of a dazzling array of life. Sea turtles, sharks , and other ocean creatures congregate around the sea mounts that rise from the ocean floor in the region, lending the island its informal name: Shark Island.
>Costa Rican officials recently established a vast new marine protected area around the island. Seamounts Marine Management Area covers about 3,900 square miles (10,000 square kilometers) of ocean. In the following slides, see some of the species that will receive protections because of the new conservation area.