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Conservation and Environment in Costa Rica: Monthly Updates

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Conservation in Costa Rica - Monthly Update November 2010


As we near the end of the year we are getting increasingly busy working on details for next year's projects and ensuring we get all the information we need for this year to complete the end of year reports.

Ensuring that we have all of this information has been no small task, looking back over all of this year's investigations and noting the details, if any, we have missed takes time and then of course we have to go out and get these details by going out into the field and finding them! Thanks to the valiant efforts of our super volunteers we have been flying ahead with this work and Eduardo our biologist is very happy with the results we have been getting lately.

Something that we are all ecstatic about though was the latest find we had from the sensor camera project which was finally a full detailed, full body photo of the Ocelot that we have been tracking around the park for the last 6 months! As you can see from this photo we couldn't have gotten a better shot, previous images included just the tip of the tail or the back of a leg, so we honestly could not be happier with such an amazing photo!

We have also been working really hard with presentations for our investigation projects here in the park, so far we have managed to create a full presentation of the bat species of Barra Honda, as you can see from this photo, we have all 28 species with details on their feeding, breeding a sleeping habits, with English and Latin names. A more detailed, hi-resolution version is available on our Facebook page so if any of you want to learn more about our bats, the ones that most of you have helped us catch over the last year, then log on leave a message!

We are planning on making similar presentations for the Butterfly, Mammal and Bird species in the near future.

Bat display

One of the bigger ideas we have planned for next year is to start a bird monitoring project, partly to have a constant registry of the bird species we have in the park, but also to create a similar photographic database and presentations of the bird species in the park. Up until this time there have been many investigations into the bird species in the park, but nothing so detailed in capture and photography, so beginning next year we will be capturing at least twice a month and walking twice a month taking a sighting registry as well. This information will be very useful for us with a lot of the other projects we are running as well because the birds have been investigated more in the past we have a good database to compare our current results too.

November has been very busy for other reasons too, technically the rainy season has now ended, and as I write this it certainly seems to be that way, the humidity has started going lower and lower each day (right now it's around 58%, a couple of weeks ago its lowest would be about 80%) and the dry season winds have picked up (daily average is about 30km/h and highs are reaching 50!) This has meant that we can finally start a lot of the clearing we have delayed because of rains and re-growth. So we have managed to clear the sides of the main entrance road, the camping area, the football field and the parking area now, hopefully for at least the 2nd to last time until the rains come again if not the last time! This has taken up a lot of our time this month but the result is very impressive, even if I do say so myself!

We have also been working on a new building for the park, after months of rain and the obvious increase in volunteer numbers the park decided that a more suitable laundry area was needed, somewhere closed, clean and adequate for 20 people doing washing each week, with a suitable drainage system to deal with all that waste water! It's a pretty tough job digging a hole 2m deep and 4m long!

Suzi Lamb visiting the cave

We have been lucky enough over the last 6 weeks to have the help of 3 Costa Rican students as well, Rodrigo, Eric and Warren were a great help to us over the last 6 weeks, amazing workers and great addition to our volunteer team, even though they probably won't read this we want to say a big thank you to them, as well as all you other volunteers for helping out over the last 2 years that I have been in Costa Rica, without your help we wouldn't have been able to make this project the major success that it is quickly becoming!

We also received a visit from Suzi Lamb, who works in the UK office of Projects Abroad as the main liaison person for Costa Rica. It was a good chance for Suzi to meet some of our newer staff and she had a taste of the hard physical work at Barra Honda, when she helped to dig the drainage ditch for the new laundry. Suzi also met the current volunteers and visited the caves.

With Christmas and New Year just a few weeks away now we are getting in the Christmas spirit as well (not as much as the rest of you probably are considering the amount of snow you've been having in the UK at least!). Planning the parties and putting up the decorations is coming very soon and of course putting on the Christmas music... (what's in the charts right now, anything good?).

I won't be writing another update until the end of December, so to everyone who reads this, everyone from the Barra Honda National Park in Costa Rica wishes you all a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year as well! And we look forward to hearing from you all soon!

Richard Munday
Conservation Coordinator
Barra Honda National Park
November 2010

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