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Friends in the field

Alex, Juan, Valeria and Matthew after a hard days field work © Alex Villegas

I’ve just returned from a last minute but brilliant trip to Costa Rica. I was fortunate to get the opportunity to conduct essential field work, sampling in the highlands of Braulio Carrillo National Park. After two years of cancelled trips and endless delays, this was an exciting chance to return and kickstart the work of our collaborative conservation project.

This trip was pulled together in quick order, we only had 5 weeks to plan the entire logistics and rearrange our expired permits, which is no mean feat. I can readily admit this would have been another missed opportunity if it weren’t for my dear friends and colleagues over in Costa Rica. Specifically, Juan Abarca and Alex Villegas, two great guys, who I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with for many years. I cannot stress just how pivotal they have both been over the last few weeks in pulling this entire endeavour together. Another special thank you must go to Valeria Aspinall, from Costa Rica Wildlife Foundation. Valeria is an early career herpetologist who was more than happy to muck in with us to help collect and filter some eDNA samples whilst introducing us to a new and exciting location.

Science and especially conservation is driven by collective endeavour, collaborations between a wide variety of people from within and outside of the scientific community. Yet every single person in that chain plays a vital role in the process of delivering the end result. It is important to highlight the immense work that goes into establishing, maintaining and resourcing these projects. Whilst at times it can be easy to focus on the end result, and forget what lengths you all had to go to just to get this process started. I will always remain grateful for all the support I have been given over the years.

I know they sacrificed a lot to help arrange this work, not just their time, and I will forever be indebted to them.

Till next time, Pura Vida my friends.

Matthew, Don Rafael and Juan Abarca on the Rio las Vueltas, Braulio Carrillo NP. © Alex Villegas

Toads and Tapirs

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