The ecological reserve of Sarapiqui in Heredia, Costa Rica, where Green Planet Ventures’ interns and volunteers work, has found a species of bat (Furipterus horrens), unseen for years.
The species had not been seen in Costa Rica for 45 years (since 1973) and they were about to declare it extinct in the country, when the finding took place. See the local news.
This is a rare species with a reported distribution range from Nicaragua to Brazil, appearing mainly in caves in dry forests. Hence the importance of this discovery not only for having re-discovered the species but also for the record of the new habitat type, as the bats were found in one of the hotel’s buildings.
The hotel management team of Selva Verde, which also manages the nature reserve where our interns and volunteers are placed, decided not to let that part of the property to visitors anymore to avoid disturbing the animals in their new home.
The colony of about 80 bats was found under one of the bungalows that is built on pillars. They are small-size individuals which feed on insects caught on the wing and have gregarious behaviour like most species in this order of mammals.
Henry Alfaro (one of our project researchers) made the first sightings, which were followed up by Marco Gaspariolli. Finally, Willy Pineda (Selva Verde’s research director) and a bats specialist from the University of Costa Rica captured the specimens and confirmed the identification.
You may not be surprised to hear that one of our interns (Jennifer Curtis from Oxford University) worked on this same project last summer:
“The work that I was able to carry out at Selva Verde definitely fulfilled my expectations. I was able to use and try out a wide range of sampling and surveying techniques. I have gained valuable experience that I will be able to take with me into my future studies. It was amazing to be able to experience such a great forest with such rich ecosystems and biodiversity! On my last day I even found two Greater White lined bats in the corridor where I was staying!!”
“Everyone was very friendly and helpful. This aided greatly with my work and also made my time here more enjoyable!”