Tracking Costa Rica's Mammals

Release Date: Friday, Oct 31, 2014

Discover how Costa Rica is making conservation part of everyday life for farmers.

In many places, developed land intertwines with wilderness. People clear trees to plant crops, or use pesticides that can harm nearby forests. So any meaningful effort to protect wild landscapes requires the help of farmers.

Make a lasting contribution to one such effort by exploring a stretch of privately owned land that connects national parks and other protected areas. Such stretches, known by scientists as biological corridors, let wild animals move freely between the places where their natural habitat remains healthy and relatively undisturbed. Costa Rica’s government encourages farmers to maintain these swaths of land by, for example, paying them to plant trees among their crops.

By interviewing farmers and monitoring camera traps and hair traps, you'll track monkeys, tapirs, foxes, and other mammals in the Paso de Las Nubes Biological Corridor to learn how many different species and how many individual animals are around. If these numbers mirror the numbers in national parks and other protected areas, Costa Rica’s policies are working. If not, the data you collect will help researchers recommend strategies for improvement. This is your chance to make a concrete impact on all who depend on forests in Costa Rica—plants, animals, and people.