Research and Volunteers:
“I’m Selina Mellin and I am from Gibraltar. I have had a passion for wildlife since before I can remember and have undertaken various wildlife conservation trips in the past. This time I chose to pursue a wildlife conservation internship which would grant me the incredible opportunity to spend six full months in this beautiful country. I am currently 3 months into my placement here at Cloudbridge and I am loving every second of it. I am currently involved in the existing butterfly project here at the reserve which was established in order to build and maintain a butterfly species list for Cloudbridge as well as assess differences in species abundance between different habitat types in order to monitor any changes as the forest continues to regenerate. I am gaining a wealth of knowledge and incredible, invaluable experience which I hope will be beneficial to me for a future in this field.”
” I’m Toby and I have recently finished an Ecology degree at Auckland University in New Zealand, I have a keen interest in Plant Ecology and Species Interactions such as Pollination and Seed Dispersal. In order to get research experience and spend some time abroad, I have come to Cloudbridge as a research intern, where I will be working on their Butterfly Project until April, which involves using a combination of sweep netting and hanging traps with banana bait to compare species compositions between habitats and to add to the butterfly species list within the reserve. I am greatly looking forward for the next four months.”
“¡Hola! My name is Sophie, I am 19 years old and at the moment I am a volunteer at Cloudbridge Nature Reserve. I am from Germany and I just graduated from high school. Right now I am doing a gap year, because I want to learn another language and to get to know another part of the world. Normally I am interested in politics, economics and philosophy, but in my gap year I wanted to do something completely different. Because of this I came to Cloudbridge. Here in this beautiful nature reserve I got the chance to learn about how to protect our environment and furthermore I get a lot of information about the local animals. As I am a volunteer I do not really do the research, but I can help the students with their projects (e.g.: woodwork, working in the forest) or I can help with anything which concerns the reserve.”
“My Name is Leonie. I am 19 years old and I am from Germany. I am volunteering in Cloudbridge for 2 months. When I was about 16 I figured out that I am passionate about environmental protection and nature and want to spend my life doing something with this. When I became informed I was so shocked about what is happening in the world, how much influence us humans have and what this all could mean for us in a few years. And now that I have graduated and have the time I do not want to waste it. And so now I am at Cloudbridge to learn more about the environment and what we can do to help.”
Willem Van Doorninck
“I am 18 years old and come from a small town in the Netherlands. I always loved wildlife and I have been birding since I was 16, after I was introduced to the neotropical birds of Suriname. I decided to take a gap year after high school to Costa Rica, before I am going to study biology next year. After having spent three months in Tortuguero national park at the Caribbean coast where I did an internship, I have come to Cloudbridge. Here I am studying warbler interactions, which is a wonderful opportunity for a 18-year old bird lover and I hope I can contribute something to Cloudbridge Nature Reserve.”
“I’m from Quebec, Canada and I’m currently studying ecology in university. Nature really amazes me, especially the animals. I came traveling in Costa Rica two years ago during a gap year and I fell in love with the cloud forest. I am always up for traveling, so I thought that it would be an amazing opportunity to combine work and pleasure. During the next three months at Cloudbridge, I will be an assistant researcher, which means I am going to help researchers with their projects, and I am also going to be in charge of the owl survey.”
“Hi, my name is Alyce and I am from Calgary, Alberta. I just graduated from university and wanted to do an internship somewhere amazing before finding a job back home. For the next three months I will be completing a project on Quetzals, found right here at Cloudbridge. I wanted to come to the Cloudbridge Nature Reserve, not only because of its wonderful location, but also because of the area’s rich biodiversity. I am looking forward to working along side others completing interesting projects as well as the opportunity to complete an interesting project of my own over the next several weeks.”
“My name is Jeff I am from Upstate New York. I am a recent graduate from SUNY Cortland with a degree in Biology. I have always enjoyed the outdoors and find everything out here fascinating. I want to continue my studies after this and obtain a graduate degree in Conservation Biology, so I can help conserve the beauty of the outdoors for future generations. I am working as a Bird Intern to gain valuable real-world experience before moving on to graduate school. ”
Sloth Habitat Suitability Study
Ramon te Beek is in his last year of wildlife management at Van Hall Larenstein University, Netherlands. He has just completed his 6 months of research at Cloudbridge. There is little known about sloth habitat at high elevations and this research could be important in the future for possible reintroduction of sloths to this area. Ramon studied both the Hoffman’s Two-Toed sloth and the Brown throated Three-Toed sloth.
Sloths lived in this area before deforestation led to their disappearance. With the return of the forest through reforestation there have been several sightings, the last being in 2014 when a two-toed sloth was spotted near the Jiguerro trail. These few random occasions does not mean that they are established in the area. In fact there are no reports by local farmers seeing them recently.
Five transects within the reserve were studied for suitable habitat. A list of tree species that sloths feed on were identified. His research shows that the natural regrowth under 30 years and the primary forest had the most potential for sloth habitat at Cloudbridge. The most suitable place within his study pointed to half way up the Montaña trail as being the best site from the transects studied.
|Suitable tree species found in Cloudbridge Nature Reserve.|
In conclusion sloths have a role in the ecosystem and that should be a reason to reintroduce them. Tourism could be another factor for encouraging the return of this animal. The threats to sloths at Cloudbridge would be the predators (cats) that are here. Fortunately, power lines and traffic would not be an issue. The climate is suitable for both the two-toed and three-toed sloth and the tree species for their diet are also found here. According to the density charts, Cloudbridge could sustain approximately 5 two-toed and 39 three-toed sloths within its area. Consultations with the Sloth Institute in Manuel Antonio and The Toucan Rescue Ranch have provided Cloudbridge with information on reintroduction and release methods. These organizations might be a good resource or/and partnership for a future release project.
Gatton Academy from Bowling Green Kentucky visited Cloudbridge with 2 student groups. They receive 3 college credits for this 200 level biology class that they participate in at the reserve. Besides their research they had time to visit the market in San Isidro, take an art class, listen to a climate change presentation, and it all ended with a traditional Costa Rican dinner and music night.
We love to hear your comments about the reserve. It is always important to us that people have a positive experience when they visit and we are always open to suggestions and improvements too.
“I would like to thank you for the wonderful opportunity you provided my son, Caden. To listen to him recall his experience at Cloudbridge brought tears to my eyes. It was truly life-changing for him and I would not be surprised if you see him again. Thank you” Jodi Dosier