Wildlife research and conservation.
What is JaguarOsa?
JaguarOsa is a collaborative wildlife research and conservation project that aims to provide scientific information and support to aid in the conservation of wildlife, especially jaguars, white-lipped peccaries, Baird’s tapirs, primates, and pumas within and around the protected areas (e.g., Corcovado National Park, Piedras Blancas National Park) of the Osa peninsula of Costa Rica. JaguarOsa was founded in 2015 and has been collecting data ever since. This long-term monitoring effort is critical to the conservation efforts of the region. JaguarOsa is a partnership between Professor Erik R Olson’s wildlife research lab at Northland College and the Área de Conservación Osa of Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación of Costa Rica (i.e., Costa Rican National Park Service).
Where is the study area?
The Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica supports 3% of the world’s biodiversity and has been considered to be the most biologically intense places on Earth by National Geographic. Our study area is also one of four focal priority area for the conservation of jaguars in Costa Rica.
Conservation efforts in this area can be challenging. Having access to long-term, quality information about the status of species is critical to the conservation of this area. This area is regularly threatened by poaching, illegal gold mining, and other threats. It can also be very difficult – physically and logistically to access the many remote parts of our study area. Furthermore, not only does the tropical environment take its toll on our equipment, but occasionally our cameras are stolen or destroyed by poachers or miners. Thus, each year we need to replace some cameras. The good news is that you can help us address these challenges by donating to the JaguarOsa Project. Your gracious donation to the JaguarOsa Project will go directly to supporting the on-the-ground efforts to monitor and conserve wildlife within the protected areas of the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica. For example, donations will be used to help purchase camera traps, food for field crew while in the field, or memory cards, batteries, or locks for cameras. These essential items will help us maintain this effort into the future and conserve one of the most biodiverse places on Earth.
What is the benefit to Northland College Students?
Since 2015 five separate students have traveled to Costa Rica to independently work on this project in the field. Gaining the experience of a lifetime, these students help implement the project in the field. Working side-by-side with our Costa Rican colleagues. Learning from each other. At least 14 students have worked on this project from campus – entering, curating, analyzing, and presenting the data – learning conservation by doing. These experiences help jumpstart these student’s professional careers. Professor Olson also integrates the lessons learned from this project directly into his Conservation Biology, Conservation of Large Carnivores, and Carnivore Tracking classes.