As a preliminary step to my upcoming research project, aiming to document wildlife at different heights in the premontane wet forest of Monteverde, I have installed my first arboreal camera trap today. Although the camera is not located on the research site, it was exciting nonetheless.
Two weeks ago I took one of my colleagues out to show her some treeclimbing. We walked past one of the local coffee farmers, when I decided that the tree I spotted there would be a good first climb for her. The coffee farmer, named Oldemar, is an acquaintance as we lead coffee tours on his farm. Therefore I was sure he wouldn’t have any problem with us climbing his tree. After enjoying the sight of our little climbing adventure Oldemar asked me for a favor.
Oldemar told me that when the electricity company installed their power lines along the road they cut many branches that connected the trees on both sides. Since then, he frequently noticed arboreal wildlife, like monkeys and coatis, arriving at the roadside unable to cross. With many free roaming dogs in the community, these animals were reluctant to come to the ground to cross and therefore very often retreated back into the forest on the same side of the road. Oldemar asked me if we could install something up in the tree to facilitate these animals crossing the road. Together we came up with the idea to hoist a big bamboo stalk up there and tie it to the trees on both sides, increasing connectivity through this corridor.
Last weekend our plan became reality and construction of the arboreal wildlife crossing turned out to be even easier than we thought. Right away we decided we should install one of my camera traps to see if we could capture some footage of animals using the crossing. So next day I came back to install the camera, hearing upon arrival that their daughter already had a video of Capuchin Monkeys using the aerial bridge.
Proud as a peacock I raced myself up the tree to install the camera. And now we wait……..
Feature photo by: Rachel Eubanks, www.rachel-eubanks.com