Friday, July 24, 2009

Wildlife of Tortuguero National Park

On the Jaguar Camera Trapping Study, the camera changeover team set off on a trek to Mile 7 in the hope that the cameras would show a sleek, spotted cat. However, they got more than they bargained for. After half a mile on the beach in hope of seeing a nesting turtle making her way back to the sea in the early morning, the team hit the forest trail empty handed.

As the trail opened up by the beach, Sarah D saw mating turtles in the sea. As she pointed them out, she saw a pile of sand, followed by a flipper, fly high into the sky. The team, upon realising Sarah’s discovery, was ecstatic, especially as it was Rhiannon’s first turtle experience in the four weeks gone by. As they filmed “mamacita verde” disguising, the hope for a jaguar sighting became more and more intense.

Along the trail, an Agouti (Dasyprocta punctata) sprinted across the path followed by another bounding after it. The sightings continued with mantled howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata), Central American spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi), and numerous groups of cheeky white-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus), all with babies. The team eagerly continued to film nature’s wonders at their fingertips. After finally reaching their destination, the hope and anticipation of seeing the spotted feline, had grown exponentially.

Unfortunately for the Changeover Team, they became the Retrieval Team, as one camera had suffered from the week’s storms. On the return, the group noted a great curassow (Crax rubra) and scores of lizards along the four-mile return. The impressive biodiversity of the National Park had seemingly put on a show for the lucky researchers, with smiling faces all round!