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Program Details
Program Type Volunteering
Program Focus  Wildlife Conservation
2 Weeks From £ 1,050.00
Code: CRJL0263P

Jaguar Conservation in Costa Rica

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

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.


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.

Testimonial

"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

Report of 6 years of data collected in #tortuguero #nationalPark #canalbirds in #Spanish @sinac_cr https://t.co/3k0G9EIfjB

1 month ago

GVI Jalova

Report of 6 years of data collected in #tortuguero #nationalPark #biodiversity in #Spanish @sinac_cr https://t.co/L2IvLxbvrD

1 month ago

Latin America Video

GVI Blogs

Teaching English- A new Focus

On July 11th, 2016, I arrived in Quepos for the second time. I felt less nervous, more prepared and definitely excited. This is my second year volunteering here in Quepos; I spent four weeks in June 2015 with GVI, also on the teaching English program. After my time with GVI last year I studied accounting at the University of Kentucky and decided business wasn’t for me (who knew?) and that I wanted to teach English as a Second Language. I finished my first semester and then moved back to Cincinnati and got my TEFL certification while working full time. I decided in January to return to GVI Quepos and apply what I would learn in my TEFL course.

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

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • 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
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Welcome meeting

What's Not Included

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

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.

Due to the fact that we are working in a National Park, we need to have a special scientific permit to conduct research so you will be asked for some papers to be able to process it. It is a fairly simple process.

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.

GVI works with local partners such as Coastal Jaguar Conservation and Panthera.

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

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • 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
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Welcome meeting

What's Not Included

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

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

Cormac Healy

Country Expert
Meet Cormac, our lovely Country Expert for Thailand and Costa Rica. This Scotsman is a rather eccentric guy and his fantastic sense of humour is one of his most appreciated characteristics. He achieved a Master's degree in History and Politics, and quite evidently can keep his own in any conversation on any topic.

His love for travelling started in his younger years already and since then he has explored New Zealand, Canada, the states, and South Africa! What is his one travel must-have? "A towel of course (for further information please read a Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy)."

Mac particularly enjoys getting the chance to have a bit of banter on the phone with people who are really passionate about volunteering. He thinks of himself as Carl Frederickson from the movie Up. "Just a bloke who enjoys sitting in a comfy chair; I think we can all relate to that." Mac, we absolutely agree!

Ana Miguel

Science Coordinator
Meet Ana, our scientific coordinator here at GVI Jalova. Upon finishing her PhD studies in Molecular Biology she decided to change the lab coat for the field and ran the largest sea turtle conservation programme in Greece where she met and worked in close collaboration with GVI Greece-Mavrovouni.

Ever since I met the GVI team I decided I wanted to become one of them! She has relocated from her home country, Spain, to work in Jalova, ensuring that our wildlife conservation programmes run smoothly.

Grant Baker

Jaguar Project Leader
Meet Grant, our Jaguar project leader in Jalova. Having had previous experience with big cats at the South African GVI wildlife program, he enjoys getting his hands dirty with the awesome jaguar project here in Jalova.

This is his third location working with GVI, having also worked with GVI in Greece for the conservation of loggerhead sea turtles. His goals while he’s here in Jalova are catching site of the ever-elusive jaguar, seeing a manatee, and contributing to wildlife conservation.

Edwin Vaca

Bird Project Leader
Meet Edwin, our Bird project leader in Jalova. The Amazon rainforest sparked his love for the tropics and its incredible wildlife. From glass frogs to the prehistoric Hoatzin, he had the amazing opportunity to learn and work with some unbelievable animals and even add a few new ones to the species list during his time with GVI Yachana (Ecuador).

He enjoys cruising down the canals in the Tortuguero National Park, spotting the illusive Agami Heron, and seeing the huge waves of herons migrating down from the north. My other passions of music and football have also followed him to Jalova and he’s always up for listening to something new from around the world or a good kick about.

Megan Brett

Incidentals Project Leader
Meet Megan, our Incidentals Project Leader in Jalova. She loves anoles, frogs, and all the other animals she can find in the jungle, which seems to be a good fit with what she is doing here with us at GVI. Megan has previous experience working on a dairy farm and with local conservation groups in New Zealand.

While working with GVI she gets plenty of chance to see and identify interesting animals. Costa Rica is quite a change from what she is used to but she loves the chance to use her training in zoology and ecology with a very different ecosystem than any she would find in New Zealand, her home country.

Alejandra Carvallo

Base Manager
Meet Alejandra our Base Manager! Originally hailing from Mexico, with a Bachelors in Biology from the University of Guadalajara. Alejandra has travelled and lived in many different countries such as the USA and Holland throughout her conservation career.

Besides working with turtles in conservation and rehab, she also has experience in marine mammal rehabilitation, research and training from different facilities. Her favourite experience so far has been a turtle night patrol were she encountered three leatherbacks and one hawksbill turtle nesting! Ale loves outdoor activities and to learn about different cultures.

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.”

Cynthia Arochi Zendejas

Costa Rica Country Director
Meet Cynthia, our Country Director in Costa Rica. She started out with GVI as one of our National Scholarship Program participants in 2006 and later became our Programme Coordinator in Mexico. Her skills and enthusiasm just made it too hard to let her get away!

Cynthia is a certified Veterinarian, an EFR Instructor and holds a Master’s degree in International environmental Science. She is also a member of the Mesoamerican Society for Biology and Conservation, chapter Costa Rica.

The most interesting things she’s experienced during life in the field? “Watching the turtles hatching! Also finding jaguar tracks and being able to participate in community tours.” Apart from those, Cynthia also loves arranging and participating in the fun Charity Challenges with volunteers.

What does Cynthia think volunteers bring to the projects? Since our goal is to provide support to local organisations which don’t have the human or economic resources to achieve their conservation or sustainable development objectives, our volunteers play a key role by being the hands needed, or helping to fund raise for those projects.”

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What's Included

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • 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
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Welcome meeting
  • What's Not Included

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