Friday, April 23, 2010

What lurks while we sleep

We are at the beginning of phase 102 and the new volunteers are discovering new ways to see and learn about animals. We are just in our first week and we have already seen all three species of primates, a hoffman’s two toed sloth, sixteen eyelash pit vipers, two parrot snakes, an agouti, a herd of collared peccaries, a neo-tropical otter and many other animals. This is an amazing amount to have seen in just a short time and we know our list will grow and grow.
Even our base is crawling with different species. The first day we were lucky enough to see an armadillo just outside our kitchen. There have even been numerous visits from four collared aracaris. As a group of volunteers were exploring our flora they have found a brown vine snake and many red eyed tree frogs.The most interesting discovery however has been the sighting of opossums near our compost area. In order to accurately identify the species of our little visitors’ two volunteers, Elliot Pelling, and Ben Neuss had the idea to put the camera traps overnight in the area where the sighting occurred. The idea quickly proved to be effective.

Many photos were taken of three different species of opossums, the common opossum, four eyed opossum, and the Central American Woolly Opossum. Even though we had suspected to capture a picture we never thought the results would be so immense just in one night.

During the hours of 9-10pm the woolly opossum appeared to enjoy our lovely leftovers. Then between 10-11pm the four eyed opossum came to get his fill. Finally from 11pm-12am the common opossum showed his face for our cameras eating his share.
With the base of this new information, using the time, amount and type of fresh deposited compost, and considering weather conditions Ben and Elliot are interested in estimating the activity level and feeding patterns at base during the night of each opossum species. “We are interested in comparing the feeding patterns of the three species to see for example if there may be a hierarchy in terms of access and have set up an additional camera in the nearby vegetation to try and better understand opossum presence around the food source.” {Ben Neuss} This will be a great way to be further involved in the GVI research. They will be setting many more camera traps and hopefully getting many more results during their next six month stay.



Anonymous said...

What a great photo! nice work guys!