Dry Season in the Talamanca Mountains

Somewhere in the Talamanca mountains, this regal melanistic jaguar is living his best life.  Though this wild animal will likely never interact directly with a human being, we are able to admire his image thanks to the ongoing collaborative efforts of QERC-PLNU Mammals project, Chirripo National Park and Cloudbridge Nature Reserve. 

This lovely image of a Tapir out for a stroll is also a product of the same collaboration.  Special thanks to Dr. Mike Mooring and all who have made this project possible!

The 35th annual Chirripo Race took place on February 25th, 2023, one of the biggest events of the year in San Gerardo.  In this picture, Cloudbridge researchers and volunteers pose with Juan Ramón Fallas, the «King of Chirripó», who had just won the race for the 10th time.  Congratulations to all of the incredible athletes who participated!

The dry season is in full swing here in Southern Costa Rica, which means that wildfires now pose a significant risk to our natural areas.  In the run-up to the weekend of the Chirripó Race, park rangers had scheduled wildfire prevention talks with local schools, with the support of our program participants.  The above picture was taken on February 21st, when the plan for the day was still to visit the schools and implement environmental education focused on fire prevention.  However, this plan was largely derailed by an actual wildfire which impacted around 4 hectares of land close to San Gerardo.  Heeding the calls for community support, Cloudbridge staff and program participants supported the efforts to control the fire later that day.

The fire affected about 5 hectares of brush and forest, but thankfully was controlled quite quickly.

Toño Pizote (or if you want to anglicize his name, Tony Coati) is the Costa Rican equivalent to the US fire prevention mascot Smoky the Bear.  Thankfully our researcher Emma (inside the costume) was able to enjoy this educational intervention at a local school!

Tom has been spearheading the effort to grow our tree nursery in preparation for the coming rainy season.  Though much of Cloudbridge has already been reforested, we are excited to support neighboring landowners in their reforestation efforts!

Researchers and Volunteers

After a full week of research and work on the reserve, this time of year lends itself well to an enjoyable river day for our program participants.

Hi! My name is Marie and I’m from Germany. I’m here at Cloudbridge as part of my gap year between High School and University, which I took to figure out what I want to do in life.
I’m a volunteer here in Cloudbridge and that means I’m doing all kinds of different things. I work at the tree nursery, go Birding, or help the researchers with their projects. Everything is super interesting, and in the time I’ve been here, I’ve already learned a lot of new things. And all of that while living in a beautiful environment. I already know that I won’t be staying long enough.

Hey my name is Andrea. I’m from Switzerland and I’m volunteering at Cloudbridge Nature Reserve for one month. I will travel for six months and I don’t wanted to spend all my journey «just» as a tourist.
Because I really enjoy to be in nature, watch animals and get to know a different environment and biodiversity then in Europe, I found the perfect place here. As a part of the community I was helping e.g. at the reforestation, counting birds, controlling mice-traps and many more. Also you learn a lot at the weekly presentations and there is enough time for example, relaxing in the hammock or playing cards with the others, too.

Hi everyone, my name is Mila and I am a second year Animal Management student from the Netherlands. I am currently doing a research on herpetofauna at Cloudbridge as an intern. Because I major in Wildlife management I really wanted to get out of Europe and step outside my comfortzone to work with wild animals. Deciding to go to Costa Rica was a big step for me as I’ve never been outside of Europe before, but as soon as I arrived and stepped out of the airport, I knew I had made the right decision. It wasn’t until I left San José, though, when I really fell in love with this beautiful country.
As a researcher at Cloudbridge I get a chance to learn new experiences and contribute to a bigger cause. I am looking forward to continue my research with the help of all the amazing volunteers at Cloudbridge!

Hi! My name’s Rene and I’m doing an internship here at Cloudbridge. I’m from The Netherlands and studying at Van Hall Larenstein university. So far I’ve been thoroughly enjoying Costa Rica. Nature all around me is fantastic and very different from back home. As part of my internship I’m doing research on leafcutter ants and the types of vegetation they gather. My favorite part of my stay here so far has been helping with a forest fire nearby. It was kind of hard to see but at the same time extremely fulfilling to be able to help douse the fires. Furthermore I’m really enjoying the company here at Cloudbridge. People are very friendly and considerate and everyone’s excited about the work we’re all doing here. I also think it’s a great learning environment for interns because the staff is always ready to help and are just as excited as we are about the work we’re doing. So yeah, so far it’s been great. Signing off 🙂

Wildlife and scenery

Photo credit: Anthony Garita


Suggested Reading

  •  Naomi Klein is an inspiring climate activist and author who is currently a professor at the University of British Columbia and co-director of Canada´s first Centre for Climate Justice.  In this interview, she highlights how is not just the changing climate, but rather the unequal distribution of resources and power that cause the most suffering.
  •  Inequality is also at the root of how the effects of climate change are felt by different populations.  Migration due to climate change is already happening around the world, and it is heartbreaking to read the accounts of people who are unable to continue living in their homeland.  For some people living in the US, climate migration is something that happens far away, but a growing number are feeling the impacts for themsleves.  This essay is adapted from the book «The Great Displacement: Climate Change and the Next American Migration.» 
  • The natural world is astoundingly diverse, and if we take the time to observe, there is much to be learned about different ways of moving through the world.  In this charming essay inspired by slime molds, Lucy Jones draws inspiration from creatures that, though «tiny and vulnerable and easily overlooked, but they are the building-blocks of the Earth’s existence.»

Deja una respuesta

Tu dirección de correo electrónico no será publicada. Los campos obligatorios están marcados con *