As a former intern from the Tortuguero project, I have a healthy love for wildlife, and did not expect to see nearly as much in the city when I came across the country to join the Quepos project.
Well, I was certainly in for a surprise! While the amount of wildlife I’ve seen is somewhat less abundant than in Jalova, and I no longer spend my days with binoculars in hand, but rather working with children (another form of wildlife, really), I have seen a number of species up close that I had either never seen, or only ever seen at a distance in Jalova. For instance, in a single 24-hour period, I saw an anteater (these had been spotted at Jalova, but never by me); a group of tiny and adorable squirrel monkeys (these guys are not found in Jalova, so that was a treat!); and an armadillo (again, spotted at Jalova, but not by me).
I was already feeling quite pleased with myself, and impressed at my amazing new ability to see all these animals from so near; when my best sighting as yet occurred in the form of a sloth down on the ground for her weekly defecation. I was walking along with a friend when all of a sudden we noticed a movement not two feet from our own feet – the sloth blended in perfectly to the colour of the sand, so we hadn’t even noticed her! She crawled around for a while, just scoping out the area and us (we tried to stand between her and the road).
As we watched, she veeerryy sloowwlyy climbed up a nearby sign post, and momentarily seemed perplexed as to where to go next. But then, performing some gymnastics that I would have thought beyond the abilities of a such a slow animal, she maneuvered around the back of the signpost and up onto a nearby branch with astonishing ease. Back into the wild after an exciting encounter with some camera-crazed humans!
So although perhaps the wildlife feels a touch less natural here, being in the city, it is nevertheless every bit as present as in Jalova, an exciting surrounding to the day’s work.
Holly, Quepos Intern