A RESPLENDENT QUETZAL: THE SYMBOL OF FREEDOM.
The book "La Mansion del Pajaro Serpiente" written by the Guatemalan
writer Virgilio Rodriguez Macal, made a deep impression on me. This book
gives a lot of information about Guatemala's tropical rain forests, a nesting
ground for birds and other wildlife. Especially, I am really interested
in a specific bird, Resplendent Quetzal. The Resplendent Quetzal is one
of the most stunning and beautiful birds in the world. A member of the Trogon
family, the Resplendent Quetzal has an iridescent green body, fluffy-looking
crown, cherry-red breast, and shimmering tail feathers that can reach two
feet or longer in length, provide a vision of tropical beauty that most
people would never forget. Its feathers actually change colors, from emerald-green
to cobalt blue, or vice versa due to refraction of sunlight.
The beauty of the Resplendent Quetzal has been admired for centuries.
According to local folklore, the birds are the symbol of freedom. According
to the myth, if Quetzals are captured, they die from being brokenhearted.
The Quetzal is the national bird of Guatemala, and even named their monetary
unit the "quetzal" in honour of it. It is said that the famous
Japanese manga artist, the late Tezuka Osamu's "Hinotori; The Phoenix"
comes from these birds.
But, to my disappointment, this bird is very rare in Guatemala. So,
I trekked in the Savegre Cloud Forest Preserve, surrounding Cerro de la
Muerte in the Central Plateau of Costa Rica in an attempt to capture a glimpse
of this magnificent bird. Costa Rica protects over 25% of its national territory
within national parks. It also possesses the greatest density of species
for any place in the world. Costa Rica was the first country in the world
to abolish its army in its constitution. Coincidentally, Japan's constitution's
famous Article Nine renounces war. Maybe I was fated to go to Costa Rica.
Costa Rica seems to me to be a land of dreams for people and wild life.
The Resplendent Quetzal relies heavily on the fruit of wild avocados
for food. Because Quetzals are among the only fruit-eating birds able to
eat these fruits, it is thought that the wild avocados are quite reliant
on them to disperse their seeds. Quetzals and wild avocado trees both need
each other. In other word, Quetzals coexist in symbiosis and interdependency
with the wild avocado trees. I hope that people and wild life on the world
coexist side by side like Quetzals and the wild avocados. Let me say "Gracias!"
to wonderful Costa Rica.