ack Ewing, the Costa Rican environmentalist and story teller, has produced a second book that starts at the beginning: That is before North and South America joined 15 million years ago.
The highly personal book is “Where Tapirs and Jaguars Once Roamed.”
The location is where Ewing has lived since the early 1970s on what is now Hacienda Barú National Wildlife Refuge.
Probably no one is more surprised than Ewing that he still is here. The Colorado native and cattleman arrived in December 1970 as an escort to a plane load of Canadian cows. He and his wife and young daughter made the trip from Miami, as described in the introduction, titled “You Make Mistake, Maybe We Die.”
The mistake would have been
underestimating the weight of the 37 cows on the World War II vintage DC-6. Ewing, the storyteller, recalls every bounce in the craft as it managed to reach what was called El Coco International Airport, now Juan Santamaría.
Ewing, the environmentalist, is introducing the reader to the way Costa Rica was and the way it could be. Hacienda Barú was once a cattle ranch, but Ewing converted it into a tropical rainforest reserve that is now a tourist attraction. The location is near Dominical on the Pacific coast.
He first described that process in “Monkeys Are Made of Chocolate,” his 2005 book. The new book promotes the restoration of the Tapir Biological Corridor. As he says in the preface:
“Although tapirs no longer roam in the corridor that bears their name, they may still be found at both ends. The dream of the Path of the Tapir Biological Corridor project is that people will work together to restore natural habitat, especially along rivers and streams, thus connecting larger areas of rainforest. The ultimate sign of success will be the migration of tapirs into the corridor from the Los Santos Reserve to the north and Corcovado Nacional Park to the south.”
The tapir is an herbivorous mammal about the size of a pig that can be found in many Latin American countries. The ones in Costa Rica are Baird’s tapir (Tapirus bairdii). Costa Ricans call them dantes. A mother and offspring are shown on the book cover.
The subtitle of the book is “Ever-Evolving Costa Rica,” which pretty well characterizes the many short tales ranging from grave robbers to the local moonshine.
Ewing, 72, is currently president of two environmental organizations, the Association of Friends of Nature and the Foundation for the Path of the Tapir Biological Corridor, his publisher, PixyJack Press said.
The 288-pages features cover art by Jan Betts, who lives near San Isidro de Pérez Zeledon. It is available at Amazon and other literary outlets.