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Jaguar Conservation in Costa Rica

Based in the Tortuguero National Park, assist in the protection of endangered Jaguars.

Program Details

Program Type

Volunteering

Program Focus

Wildlife Conservation

2 weeks from

£1,050.00

Code: CRJL0263P
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Program Information

Discover the rainforests of Costa Rica and assist in the protection of the elusive and endangered Jaguar. Conduct surveys and set up remote cameras, gathering data for use in a long-term wildlife conservation effort along Central America's Caribbean coast. Develop new skills and an in-depth understanding of the rainforest and its ecosystem on this unique tropical adventure.
Overview
Project Life
Project Details
Free Time
The Team
Dates & Costs

Overview

Assist in the protection of endangered Jaguars, whilst living and working in Costa Rica’s rainforest. Since the 1950’s the population of Jaguars within the Americas has plummeted from over 400,000 to an estimated 14,000 now.

During your stay, you will not only contribute to the preservation of the elusive jaguar, but you will join a team contributing to the development and management of long-term wildlife conservation efforts along Central America’s Caribbean coast.

You will be searching for signs of jaguars and their prey species, by setting up remote cameras and surveying a 16-mile stretch of turtle nesting beach. Relaying data to the Costa Rican government and other prominent conservation organisations, our team aids the conservation effort through monitoring and tracking on Costa Rica’s beautiful Caribbean coast in the Tortuguero National Park.

Even though jaguar related research activities will be a main part of your activities, during your time you will gain a holistic understanding of the Costa Rican rainforest and its ecosystem by conducting important research on turtles (seasonal) and aquatic birds. You will receive additional training across a wide variety of subjects and gain a plethora of skills that will help you further your ability to operate professionally in the field.

Through unique and hands-on training you will have the opportunity to understand the rainforest and the variety of wildlife that depend on it’s future.

Highlights Include

Getting the chance to go on this unique adventure in a Costa Rican National Park; enjoying life at the research station; learning about the wildlife and their habitat; seeing unique wildlife in marine and coastal rainforest environments including remote Caribbean beaches and tropical rainforest, seeing endemic and protected species; joining the research team to undertake research inside a protected area; exploring this wonderful Central American country.

Testimonials

"It’s every big cat lovers dream to be able to capture a glimpse of the elusive jaguar, and being here gets you so close to realizing that dream. The excitement of setting up jag cams, being able to ID these cats and witness new behaviours is truly addictive. Knowing these amazing cats are thriving here gives hope for future conservation."

- Kim Packard, (Australia)

GVI Live

These updates cover all programs in this location

GVI Jalova

RT @NewTimesBroward: #PalmBeach sea turtles killed during beach re-nourishment project. http://t.co/PaLtt6eIJp http://t.co/mdMiNavLTV
April 27, 2015

GVI Jalova

Ornate Spider Monkey (EN) populations decreasing steadily but finding refuge here in #ACTo @sinac_cr @IUCNRedList http://t.co/xQle0OcMTy
April 27, 2015

Latin America Video

GVI Blogs

1 MONTH AGO
Wildlife Conservation
  By costarica

Students

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes

Parents

Why Study Abroad

GVI Difference

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes

Course Life

Carrying out the programs activities on the beaches and forests in the area, you will live on our base at Jalova.

With Tortuguero’s amazing scenery, incredible beaches and through dawn patrols, spectacular sunrises as the backdrop, you will hone your research skills collecting important data.

Through the processing, analysis, and recording of data, you will also get to grips with the technical aspects of field based research.

Making lifelong friends, and invaluable contacts in the research world, you will live on our small but comfortable base with fellow volunteers, forging a tight-knit group experience you will never forget.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes

Course Details

Habitat and food source degradation as a result of human activity are the major threats to jaguar populations. Through the correlation of jaguar prey species, jaguar feeding behaviour and population numbers, this project helps the Costa Rican Ministry of Environment to develop well rounded and consistent conservation policies.

You should also expect to be involved in further research projects according to the requirements on the ground at any time. This could include marine turtle monitoring (March – October) of nesting green, leatherback and hawksbills sea turtles; or bird monitoring and the research of 30 key aquatic species to collect long-term seasonal trend data on resident and migratory birds.

How this project makes a difference:

GVI’s data goes out to national and international organisations, is presented at international conferences, and is used in species and area management policy development.

Jaguar conservation efforts have been successful in recording new and useful data about jaguars and their habitats that is being used worldwide to restore declining jaguar populations.

GVI’s data goes out to national and international organisations, is presented at international conferences, and is used in species and area management policy development.

Jaguar conservation efforts have been successful in recording new and useful data about jaguars and their habitats that is being used worldwide to restore declining jaguar populations.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes

Life on the Internship

Carrying out the programs activities on the beaches and forests in the area, you will live on our base at Jalova.

With Tortuguero’s amazing scenery, incredible beaches and through dawn patrols, spectacular sunrises as the backdrop, you will hone your research skills collecting important data.

Through the processing, analysis, and recording of data, you will also get to grips with the technical aspects of field based research.

Making lifelong friends, and invaluable contacts in the research world, you will live on our small but comfortable base with fellow volunteers, forging a tight-knit group experience you will never forget.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes

Program Details

Habitat and food source degradation as a result of human activity are the major threats to jaguar populations. Through the correlation of jaguar prey species, jaguar feeding behaviour and population numbers, this project helps the Costa Rican Ministry of Environment to develop well rounded and consistent conservation policies.

You should also expect to be involved in further research projects according to the requirements on the ground at any time. This could include marine turtle monitoring (March – October) of nesting green, leatherback and hawksbills sea turtles; or bird monitoring and the research of 30 key aquatic species to collect long-term seasonal trend data on resident and migratory birds.

How this project makes a difference:

GVI’s data goes out to national and international organisations, is presented at international conferences, and is used in species and area management policy development.

Jaguar conservation efforts have been successful in recording new and useful data about jaguars and their habitats that is being used worldwide to restore declining jaguar populations.

GVI’s data goes out to national and international organisations, is presented at international conferences, and is used in species and area management policy development.

Jaguar conservation efforts have been successful in recording new and useful data about jaguars and their habitats that is being used worldwide to restore declining jaguar populations.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes

Project Life

Carrying out the programs activities on the beaches and forests in the area, you will live on our base at Jalova.

With Tortuguero’s amazing scenery, incredible beaches and through dawn patrols, spectacular sunrises as the backdrop, you will hone your research skills collecting important data.

Through the processing, analysis, and recording of data, you will also get to grips with the technical aspects of field based research.

Making lifelong friends, and invaluable contacts in the research world, you will live on our small but comfortable base with fellow volunteers, forging a tight-knit group experience you will never forget.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes

Project Details

Habitat and food source degradation as a result of human activity are the major threats to jaguar populations. Through the correlation of jaguar prey species, jaguar feeding behaviour and population numbers, this project helps the Costa Rican Ministry of Environment to develop well rounded and consistent conservation policies.

You should also expect to be involved in further research projects according to the requirements on the ground at any time. This could include marine turtle monitoring (March – October) of nesting green, leatherback and hawksbills sea turtles; or bird monitoring and the research of 30 key aquatic species to collect long-term seasonal trend data on resident and migratory birds.

How this project makes a difference:

GVI’s data goes out to national and international organisations, is presented at international conferences, and is used in species and area management policy development.

Jaguar conservation efforts have been successful in recording new and useful data about jaguars and their habitats that is being used worldwide to restore declining jaguar populations.

GVI’s data goes out to national and international organisations, is presented at international conferences, and is used in species and area management policy development.

Jaguar conservation efforts have been successful in recording new and useful data about jaguars and their habitats that is being used worldwide to restore declining jaguar populations.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes

Free Time

Volunteering with GVI not only allows you to participate on programs assisting disadvantaged communities or endangered ecosystems but it also offers wonderful opportunities to travel in the local area in your down time or further afield either before or after your program. Many decide to travel after volunteering, solidifying the lifetime friendships established on program.

Our long term field staff are a great source of advice and are here to help you make the most of your time abroad. Remember to ask about discounts on local activities and side trips through your association with GVI. Our Jalova field teams have helped us put together the following information on trips and travel options in Costa Rica!

Optional Side Trips

Given your isolated location, a lot of your down time will be spent on base, the rainforest is not a place to go wondering! However there are still some possibilities in the immediate area for you to make the most of your time in Costa Rica. You can visit Tortuguero Village, browse its small souvenir shops, visit the delicious bakery and just watch the world go lazily by. For longer term volunteers on long weekend breaks, you could decide to head off base and further explore the Caribbean region. Hiking, snorkelling, fishing, or canopy and zip-line tours are just some of the activities that are possible in the area. For something a bit more intense, you could raft on the white waters of the famous Pacuare River on class III to IV rapids over the course of 1- or 2-day trips. And if the adventure activities are not for you, then simply relax in a laidback Caribbean village!

Further Travelling Opportunities

Costa Rica is an amazing country with an abundance of travel opportunities further afield with the following just a snapshot of the many possibilities!

Admire the famous and active Volcan Arenal from a distance and relax in the natural hot springs; surf the Salsa Brava – a hotspot of the Caribbean for the advanced surfer; ride horseback on the beach in Puerto Viejo or simply enjoy miles and miles of beautiful beaches kissed by palm trees; spot migratory raptor birds in the Talamanca Mountains and visit indigenous villages to learn more about their amazing culture; discover the cloud forest at Monteverde, visit the hummingbird gallery, enjoy the locally made ice cream and other fresh dairy products or walk among the treetops on the hanging bridges; enjoy the organised wildlife tours of Braulio Carrillo National Park; travel across the country to discover the beautiful Pacific Coast with its hidden white sand beaches; visit Volcan Irazu and discover coffee farms on the way back to San Jose; back in the capital, visit the Gold Museum or the Jade Museum, attend a play in one of the numerous theatres or take in the Latin American vibe with its lively nightlife.

 

The Team

Alejandra Carvallo
Marine Turtle Project Leader

Meet Alejandra, aka Juanita (you can thank Renato for that nickname) one of our Marine Turtle Project leaders! Originally hailing from Mexico, Alejandra has travelled and lived in many different countries such as the USA and Holland throughout her conservation career.

Besides working with turtles, she also has experience in marine mammal rehabilitation, research and training.Her favourite experience so far have been a turtle night patrol were she encountered three leatherbacks and one hawksbill turtle nesting!

Anik Levac
Bird Project Leader

Meet Anik, our Canadian Smurfette from our Jalova team. She graduated from Laurentian University with a Bachelor of Science Honours with a specialisation in Ecology.

She has been our Bird Project Leader at the GVI Jalova Biological Station since October 2014 and recently had the opportunity to see Leatherback Turtles during one of the night patrols! Besides her epic knowledge of birds, Anik is also tri-lingual. She can speak Canadian-French (not  fromQuebec), Spanish and English.

Her favourite experiences so far? ” It definitely has to be seeing the amazing wildlife,  including Great Green Macaws, Leatherback turtles and, of course, the interesting group of staff members I get to work with.”

Anik would also like you to all know that besides being a Canadian Smurfette and participating in “supermaning” during her free time, she has also achieved the amazing feat of being Gandalf simultaneously. Oh, and she loves her cat – a lot!

Renato Bruno
Marine Turtle Project Leader

Meet Renato, our Marine Turtle Project Leader at our Jalova hub. Renato has been working in wildlife conservation since graduating from Mackenzie University with a degree in Biology.

His true love is turtles and he has been working with them in Tortuguero since May 2013, first with the Sea Turtle Conservancy and now with GVI. His favourite experience so far has been working the Leatherback turtles and the local community to help promote their conservation.

Renato has travelled extensively throughout the Americas and recently visited Cuba for the first time. In his spare time, Renato loves to write and play guitar for the people of Jalova.

Anna Johncock
Base Manager

Meet Anna, the adventure seeking base manager at our Costa Rican wildlife conservation project. With a first class BSc honors degree in biological science, Anna is right at home in the jungle! Having been involved in a publication about the effect of peatland drainage on enzyme activity and water chemistry, she is in her element learning about the ecology, flora and fauna of the Tortuguero National Park.

Anna is also a qualified TEFL teacher and relished the experience of teaching English conversation classes to Tibetan refugees in Dharamasala, India. She is also mountain leader trained and a PADI open water diver, her last dive was off the pacific coast of Costa Rica.

In her spare time whilst not working or living abroad, Anna loves to travel. She has visited over 20 different countries including India, Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia, Borneo, Tanzania and Egypt.

Her most memorable experience with GVI to date has been going out on bird surveys on the canals within the Tortuguero National Park and also counting a green turtle`s eggs whilst she (the turtle!) laid them. Anna really hopes to see a Tapir, Jaguar and a Leatherback turtle in Costa Rica!

Jizel Miles
Jaguar Project Leader

Meet Jizel, aka McSwiz, Mcizzle, Jizzle Pops and don’t forget Jizellie! He is one of our Jaguar Project Leader’s at our Jalova hub in Costa Rica and our self-proclaimed Jungle Fresh Prince. Jizel is a mix-breed of Canadian and American, with an Honours Degree in Zoology from the University of Guelph.

Jizzle Pops has been working at our Jaguar project since early June 2014. The coolest thing he has seen so far has been a Black-collared Hawk, Dolphins, Tayras and the Northern Tamandua. He is hoping to still catch a glimpse of our elusive Jaguar among other critters such as the Ocelot, Tapir and Peccaries.

McSwiz is also a regular travel junkie like most GVI Staff. So far, he has explored various countries in Central America, Europe and states of North America. Jizz plans to one day cross off Thailand, Nepal, New Zealand, Malaysia, Hogwarts and Narnia from his ever-growing list. A feat that will surely make him the envy of every geek in the known universe.

 

Daniel Ponce-Taylor
Director of Programs

Meet Danny, our Director of Programs. Although he’s based in Playa del Carmen, Danny oversees the development and running of all of our field operations. He started out with GVI as our Country Director in Mexico and quickly became an invaluable part of the team.

Although being Director of Programs is a pretty demanding job, Danny manages to find time to do the other things he loves in-between. He’s an avid photographer and is always training for a triathlon or ironman.

What’s Danny’s favourite aspect of his job? “Starting new projects – we get lots of request for assistance and it’s difficult to decide when funds are limited. The evaluation process and those initial talks with local partners are very interesting. Seeing projects grow from an idea to full programs is very exciting. I also love the relationships you create with local organisations, they become friends and we jointly work to achieve the project aims.”

Laura Dix
Director of Program Enrolment

Meet Laura. In addition to once being a promising figure skater, Laura is also a trained animal handler, and used to volunteer at a zoo in NYC. She likens herself to Blossom from the Powerpuff Girls, “She’s the brains of the operation”. We can’t argue there, HQ would fall apart without her!

She joined the Costa Rica Wildlife Expedition as a volunteer and immediately knew there was no going back to working for The Man. She became an ambassador and started planning her next trip when we sent her the Regional Coordinator vacancy. 5 weeks later she was in Cape Town!

Laura’s one travel must-have she recommends to volunteers? Coconut Desert Essence shampoo… “It smells amazing and it’s environmentally friendly. No-one should have to sacrifice their hair while travelling, even in remote environments.”

Kathryn Morris
Country Expert

Meet Kathryn, one of our most intrepid outdoors(wo)men. Her plan was to join GVI as a temporary office intern – gaining some work experience while spending time discovering a new country. She liked us so much that she decided to stay!

A lot can be said for Kathryn’s positive outlook on life… Even after telling us about an accidental full-frontal flashing of a Nepalese hotel staff member, followed by projectile vomiting all over a restaurant because of food poisoning, she smiles and says “At least my fellow travellers were entertained!”

Kathryn, aka Giggles, loves being at HQ because of the absence of traditional ‘office wear’ and recommends baby wipes as her one travel must-have to everyone – for that inevitable waterless shower.

Frank Spooner
Project Coordinator

Meet Frank, one of our Project Coordinators in Jalova. What does Frank like most about being based here? “We find such amazing animals, and we’re constantly learning. We get to see Whale Sharks, Bull Sharks, Jaguar, Anaconda and so many amazing frogs and butterflies – a not so secret passion of mine!”

Franks highlight since working for GVI? “Working on a ‘before and after’ multi taxa study of the edge effect of a road going through Primary Amazon Rainforest. Quite a mouth-full to say but it was an amazing project to be involved with.”

What does Frank have to say about volunteers’ contributions to the project? “Volunteers help me with everything I do! They’re in the field finding animals and evidence of animals that can’t be done with just one or two people. It’s also great to have more people around, making base a more social environment.”

Blaine Clarke
Country Director

Meet Blaine, she studied biology and medicine, worked as a rafting guide and adventure tour leader across Central and South America, before joining a social justice NGO in San Francisco. Luckily for us, she missed South America so we snapped her up as our Country Director for Ecuador. When that project was successfully wrapped up, she moved across to Costa Rica!

We asked Blaine what volunteers bring to the party in Costa Rica. ‘We couldn’t do what we do without our volunteers. They are the front line, out there with the staff every day, hiking the trails and collecting the data, or arriving bright and early to the school every morning with a smile on their faces and fun and inspiring lessons in hand. We have amazing staff, but no matter how hard-working they are, we could not have the reach and impact that we do without our volunteers.”

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What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes

Our Impact

Location

Jalova

GVI’s research station in Jalova is found in the stunning Tortuguero National Park, surrounded on three sides by protected rainforest and on the other by the Caribbean Sea and a beach that is home to one of the largest nesting colonies of Green Turtles in the world. Spend your time surrounded by the breathtaking scenery and wildlife of the rich canals, tropical rainforest and Caribbean beaches. There is no road access to this location, so all transportation is via canoe and motor boat, through the stunning canal and river system surrounded by tropical rainforest and wildlife.

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