A note from the managers - This guest post is by Eduardo Alvarez. This is Eduardo's second summer working at QERC on large mammal research with Dr. Mike Mooring from Point Loma Nazarene University. Eduardo and his teammates use motion activated camera-traps to collect photos of large mammals, they are especially interested in Felids such as the Oncilla (Leopardus tigrina), Jaguarundi (Puma yagouaroundi), Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), Puma (Puma concolor) and Jaguar (Panthera onca). Keep reading to see what a summer of research is like at QERC. 

It’s been peaceful these past few days at QERC. Myself and four other undergraduate researchers just finished eight weeks of research in the Talamanca mountains of Costa Rica. Our time here consisted of creating a network of camera traps throughout the Talamanca mountain range to conduct a large mammal survey. Coming to Costa Rica to conduct research sounds like a vacation to some, but in reality it can become painstaking work. Some days consisted of waking up at the brink of dawn and driving hours to a national park to begin a three day excursion to put up more camera traps. However, as exhausting as it can become it pales in comparison to what this type of work means to us and the people of Costa Rica. One of the more rewarding aspects of this research was being able to report the results we come up with to the different communities we worked in. This past week, the research team held a community presentation in QERC where we presented the results of the camera trap surveys this summer. We had over fifty people present at the meeting including the founder of the valley we work in, Efrain Chacon. People were excited and supportive of what we did and continue to do in Costa Rica. It was a humbling experience.

 

 

 

As for me, I will miss my time here. My proudest moment this Summer was summiting the tallest mountain in the country, Chirripo. It was a steep 19.5  kilometer hike to the top, and the view at the summit was surreal.  I was able to see the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea at the same time. However, as I descended the mountain I dislocated my knee cap at about kilometer 14. It was painful, but I managed waddle my way down the mountain. Still worth it.

I have one more week in this beautiful country. Everyone on the team has departed except for my friend Mitchell and I, who have planned a small vacation. The plan is to see as much wildlife as we can in Monteverde along with some zip-lining and white-water rafting adventures. I’ll try to stay alive.

Pura Vida,

Po