Conservation in Costa Rica - Monthly Update - September - October 2014
From the last 2 months we have great reports from our projects and research. We have been working hard on two bat projects, our camera traps have taken amazing photos and videos, and our terrace is has been completed.
Cave Bat Survey
We recently started a study on Cave Bats, and have managed to capture over a thousand individuals in our nightly surveys. Each night we go out we catch around 100 bats, the most common species being Parnells’ mustached bat (pteronotus mesoamericanos).We are using a device called a Harp Trap. This device used to capture bats without exposing them to entanglement, like mist nets and hand nets do, which prevents them from getting panicked and hurting themselves. We are out from 17:00 till midnight, and find this project very exciting as we never thought we would catch anywhere near the amount of bats that we are!
Sensor Cameras Traps
We have excellent news to report on with this project! Our camera traps managed to photograph a magnificent ocelot (Leopardus pardalis). An ocelot is a medium sized feline species, which can easily move about the mountains of the national park. They also have large ears which provide them with a great sense of hearing. Their forelimbs have five toes, and their back limbs have four toes. Each claw is surrounded by a pad which allows the ocelot to walk in the forest unnoticed. Our camera traps are perfect for picking up these animals when they are out hunting, and since each individual has its own fur pattern, we are able to identify and count individuals. The cameras are also used to pick up all medium sized mammals in the park which allows us to see how many different animals are living in the area. There are different station around the reserve, each with a camera which is checked once a week, after which the volunteers and staff will analyse the photos and videos from the cameras.
We are continuing with our bird survey, where the aim is to count the different bird species in Barra Honda. Twice a week we venture into the forest to conduct this survey using two methods. The first method is to observe birds which fly above the forest canopy, and the second is to observe birds which live in the forest. We recently saw a group four scarlet macaws (Ara macao) perched on a Jabillo tree (Hura crepitans). This tree is highly sought after by this species to feed and roost in.
Blue Flag Program
We have been working very hard on this project and have great news! Our Bio-garden project is almost complete at the Flor School, as well as the recycling centre for everyone in the community to leave their recycling products which will be taken to the municipality for sorting. Our garden is working very well and receives the grey water which is discarded from the school. We ae proud to see that all the hard effort we have put into the project is paying off, although there are still a few details which need to be finished in the schools and community of Santa Ana and also in Barra Honda. The main objective of this project is to obtain the Ecological Blue Flag award from the government in the schools once they start working with the projects which help the environment and teach the children how to protect nature.
Compost: a new way to reuse the organic waste
In our compost project we re-use all the food that the people in Barra Honda don’t eat, and make it into fertilizer for our nursery. All the organic waste goes to a place called “center for compost”. Once we have the first signs that the organic fertilizer is ready, we use it on the native trees we have in our nursery. The technique used is based on a live biological process, which is performed under the conditions of aerobic fermentation (air) with sufficient moisture, and ensures the hygienic transformation of organic remains into food which is easily absorbed by our soils. This process involves microbial bacteria populations such as Actomicetos, algae such as Protozoa and Cyanobacteria, as well as fungi which is responsible for 95% of the composting activity. The final phase of this process involves macro-organisms such as springtails, mites, worms.
Conservation Manager, Costa Rica