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Conservation and Environment in Costa Rica: Monthly Updates

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Conservation in Costa Rica Monthly Update – September 2012

Parasite on a bat

According to the investigation team of the Conservation program, two of forty two caves that are present in Barra Honda National Park have populations of bats over two thousand individuals. It is common to see in these bats the presence of some ectoparasites that can produce physical problems for them. For this reason it is necessary to analyze the species of ectoparasites that they have and collect information about the bats natural history in the Barra Honda’s caves.

Yerlin Leiva a veterinary student from the Universidad Tecnica Nacional has started with this parasites bat project together with the investigation team. Twice a week at night volunteers and staff members place mist nets next to these two caves for the purpose of catching bats and collecting their ectoparasites. This project started in the middle of September and will finish the first week of December.

The Conservation project here in Barra Honda is gaining new investigation materials. This month the purchase of new Tomahawk and Sherman traps will give us the opportunity to start two new projects; studies of ocelots and mice. These studies will be aided with the help of six new cameras with motion sensitive infrared sensors, which are activated by motion and then obtain photographs and videos of the species that pass in front of them. This methodology is useful for sampling carnivorous animals conspicuous and more active at night, which are often very difficult to see normally. All the volunteers received training in the use of the cameras before the project started.

Another project we are extending relates to the amphibians of the park. Knowing that frogs and toads maintain in a strong relationship with the temperature and humidity of their environment we want to analyze which places and what microhabitat they prefers to be in. To know this information we will need to extend the project for one year, creating important input into the natural history of amphibians in the dry forests in Costa Rica. At the moment, there is global concern about the amphibian decline and it is important to get this information about their behavior.

Sensor camera training

An important event that we also had this month was a field trip to the National Park Rincon de la Vieja in the North of Guanacaste. It was a great opportunity to experience another kind of forest and different weather. We saw three species of monkeys in the same day the Capuchin, Howler and Spider monkeys, and also saw other animals like Coatis, Guatusas, Toucans and an endemic species of bird. The most incredible thing was the chance to swim in the pool of the amazing waterfall in the middle of the forest called La Cangreja! The most simple word to explain this month is Pura Vida.

Jose Mario Gonzalez
Volunteer Supervisor
October 2012

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