Thursday, July 20, 2006


2nd to last stop: Monteverde Biological Station. The cloud forest was beautiful, the weather was refreshingly cool and the local economy provocative for me about the viabiliy of ecotourism as a way to sustain biodiversity. The station has excellent trails up into the cloud forest and the Monteverde Reserve (photo above with Jimmy in awe) was easy to get to. A wild hummingbird exhibit was just next door to the reserve.

Yet what most struck me about Monteverde was what I didn't see: frogs. We were joined by Allesandro Catenazzi, a professor of herpatology so I was excited to do more work with frogs. But as I mentioned in the posting on our Dendrobates Pumilio project, the amphibian decline has hit all of Central America hard, especially the montane forest species. So my hope of trapsing along streams to find these little jewels of nature was thrwarted, probably by the chytrid fungus.

I did, however, get a chance to visit the somewhat artificial but deeply rewarding Monteverde Frog Pond. This collection of large terrerariums hosting mostly lower montane species gave me satisfaction of seeing these marvelous creatures, even if not in their natural environment.

While I'd love to claim credit, the photo above was taken by a previous OTS student, Ingrid (didn't get a last name). This is Agalychnis callidryas, the red-eyed tree frog. It's actually doing quite well comparatively. The Global Amphibian Assessment ranks it as "Least Concern."