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Conservation and Environment in Costa Rica: Monthly Updates

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Conservation in Costa Rica Monthly Update – October 2012

Cultural day

This month all Costa Rica is going though for a weather transition. In the mornings we can feel the fresh wind coming from North America, which means that the rainy season is finished. The summer is coming with hot days and clear blue sky and dry leaves on the ground.

We have been working on lots of different projects this month, including, working with traps and sensor cameras. We are using traps to try and catch rodents and small mammals that have never been studied before in the park. This project is just beginning, therefore at the moment we are doing it as a pilot project, and in the future we hope to study this more carefully using research transects.

The sensor cameras that we are working with are to take pictures of Ocelots and their prey. We have a number of different cameras set up in the park, which we check weekly. With one of the cameras we are using perfume to attract the Ocelots, which has been very effective because the perfume contains pheromones that the Ocelots are interested in.

Furthermore, this month we have been marking a lot of new transects. We make these transects so that we can carry out investigations within them. Usually, the transects are 10,000m2. In the next few months we will be beginning a number of different studies in these transects.

In addition to this, we are working on a very important project with seeds. Fifty years ago deforestation was a big problem in Costa Rica, significantly decreasing the percentage of forest that we have here, therefore many species of trees have become endangered. We have many of these endangered species in the park and we have chosen seven of these species to work with. In the forest we are searching for good ‘father trees’, which are healthy, tall, wide and straight. Our volunteers identify these trees using special tools, for example, an inclinometer to measure the height of the trees, diameter tape to measure the width of the trees and we are using a GPS to map the locations of all the different trees. We are hoping in the future, when the trees have fruit, that we will collect them and try to germinate the seeds in our nursery garden. Then we hope to give the seedlings to various reforestation projects in Guanacaste.

Frog project

This month, we also made an exciting new discovery while our volunteers were on a night walk in the forest. We found a species of frog that we had never seen in our national park before (Hypopachus varilosus). This means that we now have fourteen different species of frogs in Barra Honda.

Lastly, this month our volunteers took part in a cultural activity in the village nearby the park ‘El Flor’. They learned to make typical Costa Rican bread made with corn, cheese, sugar and cinnamon. They are called Tanelas, Tortillas and Rosquillas. In this area in Costa Rica people have one of the longest life spans in the world and they say that it is because they eat a lot of corn!

Making corn bread

In conclusion, it has been a very “Pura Vida” month in Barra Honda surrounded by a lot of nature and full of good moments.

José Mario González Portilla
Conservation Volunteer Supervisor

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