Friday, May 23, 2014

Tropical Ecology Internship: Volume 1

Aula Global Biological Reserve

Finally I found the time to put some pictures online of my Costa Rican adventures. It was one of the best experiences of my life and I can't wait to embark on a new adventure soon. But I'll probably have to wait until next year. Luckily, anticipation is the best gravy. The next project on my list is the African wild dog & cheetah volunteership in Namibia, also with Raven Adventures.

During this trip, I let my inner biologist run free and roam the untamed wilderness. 
And here is - part 1 of - the result:

The best part of my journey definitely was catching sight of new, exotic animals. This cute critter is called a white-nosed coati. A what? The coati is member of the raccoon family and a common sight in Costa Rica. This particular specimen was indulging in sugar water that leaked out of the hummingbird feeders. If I were a coati, we would be BFFs.

Mini-helicopters, also known as hummingbirds
Hairy-legged bat
Can you spot the emerald toucanet?

Working it at full throttle. On the left you can see one of the camera traps we placed throughout the reserve. In front of the cameras we would then set up scent posts with velcro, hoping to catch some wild cat hairs. On the picture you can see me spritzing some 'Obsession for men' perfume, apparently cats are drawn to mister Calvin Klein. Chanel N° 5 does the trick too. That reminds me, I really have to test if it has any effect on my little tigers as well.

The cloud forest at its best

If you told me last year I would climb a 30 meter tree in the middle of a rainforest, I would have raised my eyebrows at you for sure. But I did and it was so exciting and exhilarating! Especially because I'm rather uncomfortable with heights. Climbing high up in the canopy makes you feel like part of the ecosystem, but also really incompetent compared to other animals. It took me about 15 minutes to reach the top and the harness bruised my thighs even more than Chris Brown did Rihanna's face.

Our humble shack, built by volunteers from all over the world
Colin, the most awesome person I've ever met and owner of the reserve, found a long and white hair on this log. Probably left behind by a jaguar or puma that was resting flat on its belly. How cool! You can notice that there is higher vegetation on the sides compared to the middle, this is because animals (e.g. cats and weasels) use the log as a passage over the river.

More pictures to come!
Naomi, x.

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