July 2016


Talamancan palm-pitviper (Bothriechis nubestris) –  photo by Matt Smokoska

Researchers from the University of Central Florida (UCF) and the University of Costa Rica (UCR) discovered a new species of snake in Costa Rica.  This species resides in the cloud forests of the Talamanca mountain range, which is where our reserve is. The research has been published in the July 15 online issue of the journal Zootaxa.

The species went unrecognized for more than 150 years, likely because it looks almost identical to another species called the black-speckled palm-pitviper (Bothriechis nigroviridis). We had always believed that this was the snake we were seeing on the reserve.  Our biologist has sent photos to the researchers for confirmation on the new identity as a Talamancan palm-pitviper. The researchers think that, yes, it is the Talamancan palm-pitviper that has been seen at Cloudbridge.

Researchers also believe that this species only has a range that is about 100 sq km.  This confirms how important conservation projects like Cloudbridge are for protecting animal species.  Development of land in environments that may be inhabited by a species living in a limited area could wipe out that species forever.


Research and volunteers:

We have 4 new interns from Global Vision International (GVI),  www.gviworld.com

Jeb Hartman – USA    He is studying reptiles and collecting camera trap data on mammals.

«My name is Jeb Hartman. I came to Cloudbridge to gain experience in the field of conservation and also to see all of the beauty here. I’m hoping to get a job in Costa Rica with GVI or maybe even at Cloudbridge some day. I’m from Ft Collins Colorado and I love the outdoors and nature. I got my love of nature from my dad, who is a true outdoorsman.»



Matt Steele – Birmingham, England     «I came to CloudBridge because of an internship in wildlife conservation with GVI as I have a passion for animals. I am really excited to be on the reptiles project at Cloudbridge and have already learned lots!»



«Emma Noyes- Australia    Emma is continuing the bird monitoring study.

Emma finished her degree in zoology and ecology last year and decided it was time to get some field experience. To do this she decided to  dive into the jungles of Costa Rica for a six month internship, with three months in Tortuguero National Park through GVI and then a three month  placement in the mountains at Cloudbridge.  She’s excited to see as much tropical and northern hemisphere biodiversity as possible, as Australia doesn’t even have squirrels or woodpeckers!

Kasey Bedford – Baltimore, Maryland, USA.     Casey is also working on the bird monitoring project.    » I have come to Cloudbridge as part of a 6-month internship with GVI. I spent the first half of the internship in Tortuguero National Park and have now come to Cloudbridge to finish the internship. I am very excited to have the opportunity to work here and I hope to learn more about environmental conservation.»

Emma and Kasey
Emma and Kasey


Mélia Del Degan – Quebec City, Canada. Melia is at Cloudbridge for a month as a research assistant and general volunteer.  «I’m studying the environment in university and I’m fascinated by nature. I’m doing an internship in Cloudbridge and I wish to learn lots of new things and help to build a better world.»



Tobias Hoffmann from Germany  is staying at Cloudbridge for 2 months. He has a degree in engineering but wants a new experience – something not everybody is doing. Living and working in a wildlife environment is a new experience for him and he hopes he will learn something new and it might challenge his personal view on many things.  He wants to contribute to the conservation of an endangered ecosystem by participating in research projects and helping with maintenance on the reserve.





Marian Barz from the Netherlands finished his 3rd year internship with Cloudbridge.  He gave his final presentation on tropical forestry as a community event in the village of  San Gerardo.  He also did the presentation through Skype for Tom and Linda who are in Canada and missed the one in Costa Rica.   His research covered tree identification, measurements and fruit count in three forest types – old growth, natural regeneration and new plantings.  This was a challenging 5 months as the learning curve for identifying  the immense number of species in a tropical forest can be problematic.  He said that his time doing this internship has helped him realize that mapping for environmental research is something that he really enjoyed and would like to pursue further for future studies and employment.IMG_1704

Baptiste Saunier of France finished his 3 month internship.  He studied mushrooms and left us with some beautiful photos. He identified over 330 mushroom species in the Basidiomycota and Ascomycota groups, as well as 11 taxa in the Mycomycetes group (Slime Moulds).

Baptiste's presentation
Baptiste’s presentation

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Expedition Cloudbridge – Students from the UK and Netherlands – University of Exeter

«As 4 students of 3 different universities we came to Cloudbridge Nature Reserve to assess the species diversity of herpetofauna and mainly frogs. We will be in the reserve for a total of 6 weeks of which half is spent surveying the existing transects and half will be in the north of the reserve at 2600m where no surveys have been done before. We hope to get some interesting results!»

This research focuses on an inventory of amphibians across the entire altitude range from 1500 m/4921 ft to 2600 m/ 8530 ft encompassed by Cloudbridge. This entails some of the most physically taxing inventory locations we have.
In preparation for this research some non existing trails in the upper altitudes had to be cleared for safe passage to do the research.

Edgar ,Oscar and Tobi at Vulture rock before sunrise to cut the border trail for the Exater research
Edgar ,Oscar and Tobi at Vulture rock before sunrise to cut the border trail for the Exeter research


And they found tapir poo on border trail up above vulture rock.
And they found tapir poo on the border trail up above vulture rock.


Exeter group from the UK and Netherlands
Exeter group from the UK and Netherlands


For the second year, Broadreach Global Summer Education Adventures studied at Cloudbridge. Seven middle-school students from around the U.S. travelled with two staff to Costa Rica. They spent four days at Cloudbridge learning about the cloud forest, planting trees, exploring camera trapping and getting an over view of tropical biology field research. For additional information on Broadreach tours visit http://www.gobroadreach.com/program-overview-for-field-biology-high-school-summer-camp-in-costa-rica.asp

IMG_1642 IMG_1652 Planting trees


King Edwards High School – UK

Outlook Expeditions   www.outlookexpeditions.com  organized this trip for a group of students interested in an educational travel experience. They were at Cloudbridge for 5 days experiencing tropical field research and learning about the ecology and culture in the area.


unnamedKing Edward students measuring tree volume to calculate carbon sinks in various forest types.


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From the Camera Traps:

Photo by Matt Smokoska








From inside the traps: 

A very sad face.  This coati is one of the culprits who has been steeling food and being destructive around the Cloudbridge grounds.  He was caught and moved up the mountain and across the river to the very northern most part of the reserve.  Enjoy your new home !

Caught in the act
Caught in the act

Fun and Games:

Our very own Frank Spooner is on the San Gerardo futbol (football/ soccer)  team.  He and Austin Anderson the two gringos are a little over sized by Costa Rican standards but they were allowed to play.  Maybe the Ticos appreciated their long legs after all. The team has made it to the finals.  Good luck!

Team San Gerardo
Team San Gerardo

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