Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica
Volunteering in jaguar conservation
By joining this project you ́ll have the unique and once in a lifetime opportunity of living right in the heart of Tortuguero National Park in an area closed to tourism where we are the only ones allowed to live in, and assist in the protection and conservation of the elusive jaguar.
This is a relatively unique habitat with an incredibly high density of jaguars in a small area (over 40 jaguars documented in the past 7 years in a 15 mile stretch of land, which is higher than almost anywhere else in the world in the wild) and where jaguars tend to prey on adult sea turtles.
By joining this project you ́ll not only be living in a true paradise, in Costa Rica ́s Caribbean but you will also play a huge role in research and the conservation of unique wildlife such as jaguars, sea turtles and hundreds of bird species.
Living at Tortuguero base for a month and a half was an incredible experience. Every day we would get up early and go out on the first survey of the day, seeing so many different species and experiencing things that couldn’t happen anywhere else. The surveys and training that I received definitely made my CV/resume more appealing to future employers by adding a unique workplace and experience in an international environment. It shows that I am committed to improving myself and going far and wide to participate in new activities and undergo research. The program impacted me in more ways than just learning the different species living in the jungle and oceans around base. My experiences taught me about world issues like climate change, and how human disposal of rubbish into waterways, oceans and forests can cause distress to the environment and the species that inhabit it. Living in the thick of it pushed me to now work on completing my university degree in conservation and aim to work in a similar place once graduated to help wildlife research and conservation. Staff members on base were supportive, fun and easy to talk to. Everyone was very inclusive and I had no trouble being around the same people for many weeks. All in all, this was an experience that I will never regret! I would repeat this program again and change nothing. I would recommend this program to absolutely anyone who is interested in learning more about conservation and the ecosystem, and animal lovers everywhere. Thank you for such an awesome experience.
Our Jaguar Conservation volunteer project is located in Tortuguero National Park, a key area for many interlinked conservation efforts. This is a popular nesting area for vulnerable and endangered sea turtles and a natural stronghold for jaguars and the only place where these cats are known to prey on sea turtles. Besides this, It is also home to several insect, amphibian, reptile, mammal, and bird species that are pivotal to the health of the local ecosystem.
Given that this area is a haven for jaguars, and an ideal location for studying their behaviou., it also means there is a great responsibility on park authorities and the Costa Rican government to ensure that threats as a result of human activities like poaching, habitat and food source degradation do not threaten jaguar numbers in Tortuguero.
Our volunteers play a huge role in this project by assisting our team on the ground and research partners so to help gather vital information to the conservation of the wildlife in the area.
Volunteers will be in charge of conducting activities such as jaguar feeding behaviour and population studies; surveys on the beach to monitor the levels of marine turtle predation and the use of camera traps to identify individual jaguars present in the area and their feeding behaviours in relation to marine turtles.
Volunteers will also take part in some of the other surveys carried out on base that may include marine turtle, bird, or amphibian monitoring, or general biodiversity/incidental sighting surveys, although they will have priority in the Jaguar surveys. They will get training on all species and surveys, so they go out on Forest biodiversity, birds, incidentals and turtle surveys.
A Day In Your Life
Volunteers will go on two surveys a day, with the exception of Friday afternoons and Saturdays which is free time.
- Live and work at a research station in the middle of a Costa Rican national park.
- Observe Costa Rican wildlife species in their natural habitats, including sea turtles on the Carribean beach, and monkeys, neo-tropical birds, and amphibians in the canopies above rainforest canals.
- Gain valuable conservation skills and field experience while setting up and monitoring jaguar camera traps along a 16 mile stretch of beach and in the forest, and note any tracks on the beach, to note jaguar abundance in the area.
- Depending on partner needs, you might also monitor camera images to build an ID of jaguars in the region and collect data for genetic research.
- Part of our project involves assisting authorities and researchers with observing an incredibly unique jaguar behaviour on Tortuguero beach. During turtle nesting season, the area is one of the only in the world where jaguars are known to prey on adult nesting sea turtles.
- You will also have the opportunity to participate in sea turtle and bird research as well as conducting biodiversity surveys of the forest, noting mammal, bird, amphibian, and reptile species.
- Through training and hands-on practical experience, you will learn technical skills that could assist you in pursuing a future career in conservation or soft skills like intercultural team communication that will assist you in any other vocational path you might choose.
- Explore the rainforest by canoe and walk the pristine Caribbean beaches.
→ Prices start from $1810 or £1495 for 2 weeks
Our start dates for 2019 & 2020 are:
- 24th August 2019
- 7th & 21st September 2019
- 5th &19th October 2019
- 2nd & 16th November 2019
- 8th & 22nd January 2020
- 7th & 21st March 2020
- 4th & 28th April 2020
- 2nd, 16th & 30th May 2020
- 13th & 27th June 2020
- 11th & 25th July 2020
- 8th & 22nd August 2020
- 5th & 19th September 2020
- 3rd, 17th & 31st October 2020
- 14th & 28th November 2020