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Conservation and Environment in Costa Rica: Monthly Updates

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Conservation in Costa Rica - Monthly Update October 2009

Making butterfly traps

October has been another very good month here in the park, although the rains have been falling harder than anyone expected we have been continuing many of our projects and have begun some very interesting phases of established projects.

As I mentioned last month we have begun the manual capture of butterflies in the park. This part of the project is designed to help us capture butterflies that do not feed on the bait that we leave in our static traps. It is also a good way of capturing new species of butterflies and so far we have increased our species list by another 10 species. Normally we have been taking the nets with us when we go on walks around the park or we are doing other activities and you may all be thinking that capturing a butterfly is an easy task as they don't fly that fast but now with a month's practice behind us I can promise you catching butterflies is good exercise!

As with all of our captured species we have been carefully preparing them for display in the park and sending new species to INBIO (The National Institute for Biology) where they are being stored for other researchers to use them.

Restoring the pathway

We will soon begin another phase of this project which like the two we already have running will be continuous, which is photographing and cataloguing all the species we have so we can begin forming our own Butterflies of Barra Honda guide book. This will be useful for us as we walk around the park capturing new species and will give us something we can pass onto volunteers as a memento of their time with us.

Our camera project is also continuing to provide interesting results. As we come towards the end of this year we are beginning to create our end of year reports for all the projects we are running and beginning to think about the year ahead. With the camera project we are hoping to be able to use the results we have to view population density within the park with the key species we have found so far, White tailed Deer, White nosed Coati, Central American Agouti and Coyote.

The results will of course be added to this website when they are ready. We also had the opportunity to meet several of the volunteers from Liberia this month. Due to a teacher's conference in the city of Liberia a lot of the schools were closed for a few days this month but that didn't mean the volunteers were going to take some time off. Instead we got them into the park for 3 days to do some really hard work!

The weather we had could not have been worse during this time, it was in fact the first time all year that it rained for 3 days straight and so far it has been the only time, but even this wasn't enough to dampen their spirits with all of them ready for work early on day one! The work we had planned for this special group was, completely honestly, very hard and not our normal routine but we decided that with a large group of people we could do a significant amount of work on the drainage ditches along the main road into the park.

Trail maintenance

We also had time to do some reforestation work, planting 25 saplings along the edge of the football field to help keep the soil moist in the dry season and of course provide a little more shade for people watching. Of course with a large group of new people in the park we had to take another opportunity to visit the caves, which as usual amazed everyone in the group and provided us with several good chances to teach everyone a little about the amazing area that we are working in.

At the beginning of the month we also spent a few days working to remodel the trail that leads from the kitchen area to the conference room which was starting to look a little old and faded. We came up with the idea of using rock to line the trail edge and clear an area about 50cm further into the forest so we could place some ornamental plants along the edge of the pathway. With this part done and the subsequent heavy rains we were able to see where the water needed to be diverted and channeled to keep the trail relatively dry.

Richard Munday
Conservation Coordinator
Barra Honda National Park
October 2009

Management Plan, Data & Reports

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