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In Memoriam: Jose Angel Calvo Obando


Jose Calvo, a key part of the Programa de Biosensibilidad Marino (Marine Bioawareness Program) as well as the ACG itself, and a blossoming bird photographer, died in a late night motorcycle accident near his hometown on June 1. He was 28.

Jose (left), with Los Trogones bird group and Maria Marta Chavarria. Photo: Pablo Umana (parataxonomist). 11 November 2013

Jose was quiet. He was good with kids. He knew how to look and listen in the forest, how to learn from what he saw. And he knew profoundly how to help.

He was a strong rural youth hired by the ACG Programa de Sectores to be an Encargado de Sitio (Sector Caretaker), in charge of an ACG Sector headquarters station and the thousands of hectares surrounding it. It was when he was assigned to Sector Murcielago that he first observed Maria Marta Chavarria’s children’s  Marine Bioawareness programs in the Murcielago campground, and joined in.

Jose on far right of the audience at a Marine Bioawareness camp presentation. Photo: Maria Marta Chavarria. 21 April 2013

As an Encargado, he had day-in day-out access to ACG forests and the Sector Murcielago coast. He was assigned to many different Sectors over the years and related closely to the parataxonomists at work there as well as his fellow ACG staff. 

Jose (center) on exploration of Las Cumbres with parataxonomists Osvaldo and Elda. Photo courtesy Sigifredo Marin. 18 April 2012

He worked with Maria Marta and the children of Cuajiniquil on his days off. As a self-made biologist, he was mentored by Maria and by parataxonomists and by the nature around him.

Technology came late into Jose’s life, and from the first camera with a good zoom donated to Los Trogones last year by the State of Minnesota, we could begin to see what Jose – still quiet, still in the background – could see.

Los Trogones and Jose taking photographs in November bird count. Photo: MM Chavarria. Sector Rincon Rainforest 11 November 2013

He has left behind a year’s collection of extraordinary photos, and a gaping hole.

Photo: Gloria Sihezar. Corralillo de Nicoya 2 June 2014


Snowy egret, Cuajiniquil Estuary 11 August 2013. Photo: Jose Angel Calvo Obando

Red-legged honeycreeper cleaning bill, Estacion Caribe 10 November 2013. Photo: Jose Angel Calvo Obando

Crested owl, Estacion Pitilla 20 August 2013. Photo: Jose Angel Calvo Obando

Bare-necked umbrellabird, Estacion Pitilla 17 November 2013. Photo: Jose Angel Calvo Obando